“I’m only human after all,” modern blues singer Rag’n’Bone Man blared from the speakers at the field in Hartford where the No. 1 Stowe girls’ soccer team defended its state title Saturday morning against the No.-2 seed, Leland & Gray Union High School.

If the Raiders had heard the song, it had no impact on their soccer skills or game-time mentality.

They were the crisper, more accurate and aggressive team for most of the contest.

Although just 1-0 at half, the Raiders took more shots on goal, and it seemed only matter of time before they would run away with the game.

The first of the Raiders’ scores came with a little more than 2 minutes left in first half when Sarah Hailey got Stowe on the scoreboard with an assist from Izzy Lovell.

The second half saw Stowe score again to go up 2-0 over the Townshend team about 10 minutes into that frame when Iris Cloutier knocked it into the left corner of the net off an assist from Charlotte Stevens.

“That was really special,” Cloutier said. “We’re good friends and to have that connection was great.”

She thought it was the first time this year she and Stevens had worked together to score a goal.

Relatively late in the second half, with a big celebration looking inevitable to most of those gathered on the once frosty field, Orly Bryan finished the scoring to put the Raiders up 3-0.

But the game wasn’t over.

With 9 minutes left, Hannah Landers got her team on the board off a free kick to make the score 3-1 and with about 4:30 remaining Maggie Parker scored another goal for Leland & Gray.

The first 70 minutes of the game had been played mostly on the opponents’ side of the field with Raiders’ shots just slicing wide or barely high, sometimes bouncing off the frame of the Rebels’ goal.

Stowe coach Tyler Post must have worried about his team getting complacent. He said at halftime he told his team — ahead 1-0 — that the score was 0-0.

He didn’t want his team getting overly confident.

But the last 10 minutes provided far more entertainment than Post — anyone rooting for Stowe, really — wanted.

As Post shouted for his team to get tougher on defense, for the most part, they responded, getting and keeping the ball on the Leland & Gray side of the field.

Cloutier said her team’s response to their coach’s defensive exhortations was in line with what he often tells them, namely, that a good offense is strong defense.

As the minutes became seconds and the seconds ticked down, Stowe fans began shouting the countdown to the Raiders’ blastoff into their second Division 3 state soccer championship in a row.

The Stowe girls finished the season unbeaten at 16-0-2.

Going into the fall season, they were favored to win it all, but last year’s team started the season with several losses, before turning it around and becoming the surprise winners of last year’s state title.

“Last year they turned around the record, but this year they turned around the team. Everything we did, we did as a group,” Post said.

He was clearly pleased with winning a second state title in a row, fourth in seven years.

Post demonstrated his pleasure, celebrating with his team back in Stowe with the traditional stop in the middle of Stowe village as players — and coach — scamper around the team bus as traffic stops to honk and pedestrians cheer the returning champions.

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