October 22, 2014

Soccer guys face Cougars in regular season wrap


By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

Riding fourth in Division 1 soccer rankings, the Champlain Valley Union High boys soccer team defended the home pitch Wednesday (Observer press time) against a challenge from 7-4-1 Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans.
The 8-3-1 Redhawks needed a victory over the Bobwhites and another at Mount Mansfield Union Saturday morning to clinch at least fourth place in the seedings for postseason play. Mount Mansfield was 3-6-2 entering the week.
The Redhawks can use some scoring punch.
That was evident Saturday when Essex High, on a header off a second half corner kick, nipped CVU 1-0 at Essex, the Hornets’ first win over the Hawks since 2009.
The Blue and Gold dude with his head really into the game was Nate Miles, who knocked in the corner floater from teammate Liam Donahue.
CVU had its scoring chances but either had shots a tad wide or high, or Essex goalie Ben Wood got his mitts on them among his five saves. CVU’s Oscar Kelly also made five stops.
Coach Katie Mack this week continued to ponder her lineups with the postseason at hand with the possibility of meeting Essex (second or third seed at 9-2-1) again shortly.

Hawks youth wrestling signups begin


The Champlain Valley Hawks Youth & Junior High Wrestling Program is signing up athletes for its winter season.
The non-profit program offers wrestling to students from the Hinesburg, Charlotte, Shelburne, St. George and Williston who would like to learn or refine their wrestling skills. The junior high season starts Nov. 18 and signups are underway.
Teams practice out of the United Fighting Arts Institute on Williston Road in South Burlington Tuesday through Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Registration is $75 per child, not including tournament fees.
The Hawks will host an open house on Oct. 22nd at the United Fighting Arts Institute from 6 to 7:30 PM with a sign-up option. Registration is open, the coach can be reached at [email protected] or call 999-4200. For more information, visit www.champlainvalleyhawkswrestling.com or find the program on Facebook.

CVU field hockey out to tank some Tigers

CVU’s Kate Burke scored Tuesday, her third goal in a week.

CVU’s Kate Burke scored Tuesday, her third goal in a week.

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent
They bagged visiting Mount Abraham Union for the second time this season 2-0 Tuesday at their Hinesburg nest. Now, the Champlain Valley Union High field hockey Redhawks must get a road victory Thursday over the Middlebury Union High Tigers to assure a number two seeding in the Division 1 playoffs starting next week.
The pairings will be announced Monday by the Vermont Principals Association.
“Middlebury is always tough,” said CVU coach Kate McDonald, following the win over the Eagles. Middlebury is 6-4-2 after its Tuesday game with South Burlington High was called off due to the South Burlington teachers strike. CVU nipped the Tigers 1-0 Sept. 24 in Hinesburg.
The Redhawks boosted their record to 9-3-1 Tuesday and trail only 12-0-1 Essex High in the Division 1 rankings. Right behind are Hartford High and South Burlington High with 8-4 marks.
Goal getters Tuesday for the Red and White were Kate Burke (her third in a week) and Caroline Hern. Burke scored just under four minutes into the contest by getting position in front of the Eagles’ cage and scoring from point blank range.
Hern, with four minutes and 24 seconds to halftime, got some space on the left side of the Mount Abraham net, took a couple of steps, and then deposited the ball behind netminder Danielle Morse.
Burke noted that getting the game’s first goal was very important.
CVU dominated play, getting seven shots on the Eagles’ net while the CVU midfielders and defenders kept the visitors from getting even one shot on goal keeper Tashia Pashby-Rockwood.
Last Friday, the Redhawks lost to South Burlington 2-0 in a night game on the Rebels’ turf. CVU outshot South Burlington 10-6, but bowed after two second-half goals, one on a penalty stroke.
Last Wednesday (Oct. 8) CVU, again on the road, laid a 4-0 defeat on Colchester High, with Burke firing a pair of goals while Lily Schmoker and Kate Machavern also tallied.

Football playoffs at stake Friday at St. Albans

Quarterback Jake Evans sparked a comeback in last weekend’s win against Bennington. (Observer file photo by Al Frey)

Quarterback Jake Evans sparked a comeback in last weekend’s win against Bennington. (Observer file photo by Al Frey)

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

The imaginary football playoff bells will be tolling—pleasurably or painfully—Friday night in St. Albans after 3-4 Champlain Valley Union High clashes in the regular season finale with 3-4 Bellows Free Academy with playoff seeding at stake.
The two foes had differing outcomes last weekend. CVU went to Bennington and used a huge fourth quarter rally to pull out a 33-20 victory over underdog Mount Anthony Union High.
In the meantime, BFA had a double dip into the loss column. On Friday night, the Bobwhites fell to Rutland High 28-13. On Saturday, BFA completed a suspended game with unbeaten St. Johnsbury Academy, playing a little more than a quarter in falling 42-9 in a contest suspended by lightning earlier in the season. When that game was halted late in the third quarter, the Hilltoppers led 28-3.
BFA victories have been over Mount Mansfield Union (30-14), Hartford High (29-20) and South Burlington High (14-7). Other defeats were by unbeaten Middlebury Union and Essex High.
CVU head coach Jim Provost thinks a Redhawks win Friday could boost his team into a sixth seed in the eight-team playoffs opening the following weekend.
“A lot can happen,” he warned, noting that several teams are still scrambling to position themselves in the final Division 1 field.
The coach is looking for a tough, emotional contest Friday when the Redhawks enter “the lions’ den,” with BFA also hanging on to postseason hopes.
“They (BFA) always have big, physical kids and they are also fighting for a playoff,” Provost said.
He added that the Bobwhites also have a kicker who has been knocking balls through the uprights from as many as 50 yards out.
In Bennington, the Redhawks made a second-half change of quarterback, with similar results to the previous weekend’s 35-14 triumph over South Burlington High.
Where that game saw junior Andrew Bortnick take over the controls after intermission and lead CVU to three unanswered touchdowns, this time it was sophomore Jake Evans taking charge and leading the Hawks from a 20-7 deficit to 26 final reel points and the vital victory.
Evans scored three six-pointers with his feet and passed for another. The Redhawks, with time running out, crushed the Patriots, who had been eyeing a second 2014 win.
“We went from the depths to alive by 13 (points) in the blink of an eye,” said Provost.
A key play came after CVU got within 20-14 early in the fourth quarter. Brandon Young’s onside kick was recovered by teammate Jack Frost.
Evans soon found receiver Sam Mikell for an 18-yard scoring hookup and the Hawks were even with the Patriots.
The double threat signal caller then added touchdowns on a short plunge and a 26-yard scamper to complete the final reel seal of the deal.
“Evans was the spark,” the coach said.
He also praised the work of the CVU defense, saying it was its top performance of the season. The two Mount Anthony scores were set up by lost Redhawk fumbles deep in defensive territory, with the Patriots recovering one of the bobbles for a quick six and then marching for a short distance for a touchdown after falling on the other loose ball.
Linebacker Matt Goldsborough, along with linemen Graeme Whaples and Scott Edwards, were among those mentioned by Provost. Defensive back Jeremy Fuller had an interception and was a pain to the Pats in general.
Bortnick, according to Provost, will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis for his shoulder injury.

Districts next for CVU cross country runners


By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

Last weekend, they took (so to speak) Manhattan. This weekend, the Champlain Valley Union High running Redhawks will be out to take the districts.
The cross country teams Saturday will compete in the Northern Vermont Athletic Council (NVAC) district meet at Missisquoi Valley Union High in Swanton.
Unlike the course in the Thetford hills where the state meet is scheduled in two weeks, the Missisquoi challenge is somewhat unusual.
“It is a completely different race because the course is so flat,” said CVU coach Scott Bliss via e-mail.
The CVU teams are coming off Saturday’s run in the Manhattan event in which the girls took seventh among elite teams while the boys won the varsity B competition.
“They ran great,” said Bliss of the boys while pointing out that merely one minute separated his top runner from his seventh.
The finishers for the winning Hawks included Tyler Marshall (third), Calvin McClellan (17th), Eliot Eastman (26th), Tyler Wong (36th), Baxter Bishop (39th), Justin McAuliffe (40th) and Burke Spillane (44th).
The CVU girls were led by Sophia Gorman with a 21st finish and Carly Neeld in 31st.
“It was a very talented field of runners,” said Bliss.

Unbeaten CVU soccer girls at Mt. Mansfield Friday

Audrey Allegretta scored with less than two minutes remaining in a nail-biter against Essex on Saturday.

Audrey Allegretta scored with less than two minutes remaining in a nail-biter against Essex on Saturday.

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

Just one game remains between the undefeated Champlain Valley Union High girls’ soccer team and a second straight perfecto regular season. Still, coach Stan Williams believes, in the wake of Tuesday’s 1-0 home blanking of Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans, there is some practice work to be done.
The Redhawks will visit the 8-4-1 Cougars for a 4 p.m. session Friday. The practices to add offensive efficiency no doubt began Wednesday.
There seems little doubt that the defending Division 1 champion Redhawks will have top seed and potential home grass through to a championship contest, but playoff soccer can result in strange outcomes, thus the coach’s determination to gear up the offense.
Tuesday, the Redhawks held a solid advantage in territorial play. Sierra Morton scored the lone goal in the first half. Hannah Pease assisted. It was Morton’s second huge net filler in two games.
There could have been more, but some good opportunities went for naught as shots rolled wide, went high or got blocked.
Williams did have praise for his midfielders and defense players, who kept BFA from mounting any kind of organized missions beyond the midfield stripe.
CVU netminder Maddie Turnau had three stops. The Redhawks unleashed 11 shots on Comets’ keeper Taylor Jackson.
Morton and Audrey Allegretta were the goal poppers Saturday as the Redhawks came from behind for the first time this season to down a determined 10-3 Essex High unit 2-1 in overtime at the Hornets’ nest.
Allegretta scored with one minute and 40 seconds remaining in the first additional period on a crackerjack corner kick from Lia Gagliuso, so well placed that Allegretta was able to collect the goodie.
“Lia is a real weapon on corner kicks,” said an admiring Williams.
But for many minutes, this game had been one tense struggle. Essex had set the favored Redhawks (earlier 3-0 win over Essex) back on their tail feathers when Destin Barber fired a shot past Turnau just 53 seconds into the game.
“That set us back a bit, but we recovered,” said veteran midfielder and co-captain Paige DuBrul. “Essex always plays hard.”
CVU threatened on a few occasions but the score remained in Essex’s favor until just over four minutes had elapsed in the second half, when Morton banged home a loose ball past Essex goalie Annie Bouvee. Bouvee was immense with 14 saves.
CVU pretty much controlled play the reminder of regulation, although the Hornets came close in the final minute during a flurry in front of Turnau.
“They (Hornets) gave us a kick in the rear and we reacted,” said Williams after the game.
Junior defender Anne Keene suffered an injury late in the game but Williams said Tuesday she could be playing again within the week.
Last Wednesday ( Oct. 1) the Redhawks rolled up a 4-0 home triumph over Colchester High with Gagliuso, Morton, Allegretta and Megan Gannon the scorers as CVU rained 22 shots on the Lakers’ cage.