Girls Prep Chuck Vernon Elite 8 Tournament: Williston Puts Final Touches On Impressive Season, Wins Second Straight New England Title

Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopoulos has been covering prep school hockey for the HNIB News for over 30 years, and has been the editor of the HNIB News since 2005. A former sportswriter and news editor at the Woburn (MA) Daily Times Chronicle, he has been the HNIB News' key reporter for Mens Prep School hockey since 1988, as well as womens hockey, both at the prep school and high school levels. for almost 20 years. Gary also helps organize and oversee HNIB's many summer tournaments and festivals for scholastic players.

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Williston Northampton made it two Elite 8 Tournament titles in a row after defeating Phillips Andover 4-1 in championship game.

After tough Elite 8 playoff one-goal wins over Loomis Chaffee (3-2) and Nobles (1-0) in overtime, all that stood in Williston’s way for a second straight New England title was #2 seed Phillips Andover, which entered the game with a 24-2-1 record.

These top two teams met once during the regular season, with Williston winning, 1-0, so there was much anticipation for this Chuck Vernon Elite 8 championship game.

The game was scoreless after the first period, but Williston was able to take control in the second stanza, scoring three goals in a span of 5:02 early in the frame, en route to a 4-1 win, giving the Wildcats’ back-to-back New England championships.

The victory put the finishing touches on a remarkable 27-0-1 season for Williston.

“This was an amazing feat for a grop that lost seven seniors last year,” said Williston coach Christa Talbot-Syfu. “There was some uncertainty as we started the season and our seniors led with confidence as we tackled one game at a time. I’m really proud of our team and this accomplishment. These girls are remarkable!”

Chuck Vernon Tournament MVP Emily Crovo with Williston head coach Christa Talbot-Syfu

Freshman Zoli Piekarski got Williston on the board 2:20 into the second period, with assists from Ava DeCoste and Tournament MVP Emily Crovo.

Crovo would score the eventual game winner with an unassisted tally just under two minutes later.

At 7:22, Miranda Calderone expanded Williston’s lead to 3-0, with assists going to DeCoste and Crovo.

“The girls built momentum in the first period and I felt like it was just a matter of time for us to put one in,” said Talbot-Syfu. “I think we got rolling and kept coming at them, which led to more confidence for our group. We talked all season about momentum building and this was definitely an example of how you can quickly put a team away.”

It stayed 3-0 until late in the third period. Monique Lyons connected to make it a 4-0 game before Andover averted the shutout on Julia Simon’s tally with 2:10 left in regulation.

On the season, Williston outscored its opponents by a 132-21 margin.

“Our girls are resilient and determined. They’ve shown this all season long in games and practice,” Talbot-Syfu said. “Our seniors and upperclassmen have done a tremendous job keeping everyone positive and focused in these big moments.”

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