Oct. 9, 2008
By Mal Boright
The six-time defending Division I champion Champlain Valley Union High boys soccer team has three games left in the regular season in which to climb back toward its familiar position in the top echelon of state powers.
Observer photo by Karen Pike
Champlain Valley Union High’s Matt Sulva (7), works the ball downfield during Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to Essex.
The Redhawks will open their closing run for a high playoff seed at 10 a.m. on Saturday when they travel to St. Albans for a kick session with Bellows Free Academy.
Tuesday, they will visit Colchester High (a previous 3-0 victim) and then close out the regular season a week from Friday at home against a strong Burlington High squad. The Hawks nipped the Seahorses 1-0 in the season lid lifter in late August.
CVU will go to BFA with a 5-5-1 record following 2-1 losses to this season’s Division I powerhouses — at South Burlington High last Friday and Essex High at home on Tuesday.
Essex hiked its record to 11-0, using a suffocating defense to keep CVU scoring opportunities at a minimum.
Led by senior defenders Marty Vanco and the lanky Dan Wildermuth, the Hornets kept pressure on CVU ball handlers and allowed only one clear shot, which Jack Jesset turned into the Redhawks’ lone goal with 50 seconds remaining in the first half. Tino Tomasi got the ball to Jesset, who was briefly loose in front of the cage and fired a shot into the left corner.
The tally got CVU within 2-1 of Essex, which had scored on goals by Amar Kapic at 28:02 and Thomas Dvorak, who knocked in a loose ball at 7:38.
In a scoreless second half, CVU got some solid offensive rushes from Matt Sulva, Chris Beaton, Tom Eddy and Henry Sengle, among others, but was unable to maneuver the sphere within a high percentage shooting distance. Essex goalie David Ramada had two saves for the day.
The Redhawks’ keeper, Chris Howard, came up with nine stops. Seven of those came in the second half, when Essex unloaded some long bombs at the senior backstop.
At South Burlington on Friday, it was a relieved Rebel coach Tom Schaeffer who took congratulations from friends following his team’s second one-goal victory over CVU this season.
“That’s a good team over there,” Schaeffer said, pointing toward the Redhawks. “I hope we don’t have to meet them again right away (in the playoffs).”
The 8-2 Rebels won when Rob Cole took a pass from brother Brad and booted in a hard shot from 20 feet out with 13 minutes remaining in regulation.
Dylan Crow scored for CVU in the first half after South Burlington had grabbed a 1-0 lead when a corner kick wound up in the Redhawks’ net for an own goal.
The Rebels had a 10-5 advantage in shots on goal.