TOP: The Yellowjackets line up for the National Anthem before handing Montpelier a fourth-straight season-ending playoff loss. ABOVE: Molly Loucy takes a shot from the top of the penalty area during Milton’s 2-0 victory over Montpelier on Wednesday night. (Photo by Josh Kaufmann)

The Yellowjackets earned a third straight trip to the Division II championship game despite a string of injuries to key players, knocking Montpelier out of the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season with a 2-0 victory Wednesday night at Phil Hughes Memorial Field. Milton will take on Rice in Saturday’s title contest, at 10 a.m. at South Burlington H.S.

Milton and Rice split their regular-season meetings with road wins, the Yellowjackets prevailing 4-1 Sept. 16 in South Burlington and the Green Knights evening the score on their Oct. 11 trip to Milton, 3-1.

Freshman Sami Orest, one of several JV players thrust into varsity duty during the season and into the tournament, scored less than three minutes into the game. Sophomore Marcy Dockham scored another midway through the second half.

With junior Madison North in goal and Brooke Caragher patrolling in front of net, two goals was more than the Jackets needed. North made 23 saves, and the sensational Milton defensive corps racked up another shutout. Milton has not yielded a goal since that Rice rematch three weeks ago. Wednesday night’s shutout was the Yellowjackets’ sixth in a row, including three straight playoff wins, and their 10th in 17 games this fall.

With central midfielders Kaleigh Goulette and Tatum Shappy among those absent due to injury, Orest has filled in admirably in the scoring department. Called up with the team needing attackers, the freshman opened the playoffs with an overtime game-winner, had a goal and assist in a 3-0 quarterfinal victory, and led off Wednesday’s semifinal with a quick goal when she got the better of a collision with the keeper.

It was the fourth season in a row that Montpelier’s season has ended at Milton’s hand.