Hawks had opportunities in 1-0 loss to Rebels
Nov. 10, 2011
By Mal Boright
As coach T. J. Mead admitted Monday, expectations for the boys soccer program are high each autumn.
His program has won seven Division I championships in the last 10 years.
Saturday (Nov. 5), at Burlington High School’s turf field, the 2011 post-season run fell just short in a 1-0 loss to South Burlington. The 13-5-1 Rebels captured their first crown since 1991.
“We had possession and a lot of opportunities,” Mead said. But due to some hurried shots and a stout South Burlington back defensive line, the Redhawks were shutout for the first time all season.
An early first-half goal on the rebound from a blocked penalty shot was the contest’s lone score.
Sometime ago, an old philosopher-coach (probably more than one) said: “Your team goal at the start of a season can be the championship and nothing less, but once you reach the title game, everything then becomes a crap shoot.”
And so it was Saturday. One set of figures in the press box had CVU outgunning the Rebels, 23-5, in shots at goal. Redhawks sophomore net minder Brandon O’Connell had just two stops, one of those on a penalty shot by South Burlington’s Andrew Mallory that led to the game’s only score.
The fateful moment took place with 12 minutes and 30 seconds gone in the first half after Eric Davidson, racing into the left side of the box with the ball, was hauled down in a collision with a CVU player.
Mallory lined up the shot and snapped a blast to the right side of the CVU cage. O’Connell dived and knocked the ball away, but it hit the upright and bounced back to an onrushing Mallory — who alertly kicked it past the fallen O’Connell.
There were no arguments with the penalty call. Mead said the collision came because the CVU defender “had a bad angle.”
After that the CVU challenge was a matter of getting good shots on goal. The South Burlington last line of defense, backs Ibragim Temirov, Will Coles and Jack Terricone expertly obstructed offensive thrusts and gave up few close-in chances despite repeated Redhawk flurries led by Shane Halley and Ben Comai.
“Shots either missed the frame or went just over the top,” said Mead.
Midway through the first half, Halley got a rare point blank opportunity that Rebel goalie Sean Keogh stopped with a full body save, one of his five blocks.
With 7:22 left in the half, CVU’s Noah Lieberman — after taking a set-up pass from Sam Raszka — cracked a rocket off the cross bar.
The Redhawks continued to hold an edge in midfield play through the second half, but nothing doing on the scoring end as Halley, Comai and Todd Forrester had close calls.
Looking back to the beginning of the campaign, a 14-3-1 final record and title game appearance seemed a stretch for a CVU team that lost 14 veteran players by graduation and another to prep school.
“I thought it would be a tough year and I would be happy to make the playoff(s),” said Mead, thinking back to the graduation losses of vets who had taken a championship in 2009 and earned the top seed last year before a quarterfinal upset.
This year Mead loses 11 seniors, including several solid performers, but has several valuable underclassmen with significant playing time and a strong junior varsity team from which to reload.