Challenging days for CVU boys soccer10/02/08

Oct. 2, 2008

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

Starting Wednesday with a home game against tough Harwood Union, the defending Division I state champion Champlain Valley Union High boys soccer team faces a difficult part of its regular season schedule.

Following the Harwood contest, the Redhawks travel to South Burlington High on Friday for a 4 p.m. session with the highflying Rebels, who bumped off CVU 2-1 in Hinesburg three weeks ago. The game was re-scheduled from Saturday afternoon due to student testing.

On Tuesday, the Redhawks return to meet a strong Essex High team at 4 p.m. It will be the first game between the teams since last fall’s championship encounter.

But after last Friday’s 3-1 loss at North Country Union, coach T.J. Mead and his 4-3-1 Redhawks are probably welcoming the new challenges.

The coach said his guys responded and played well to on-field challenges under the lights in Newport.

The tests included playing some 70 minutes while a player short, two successful North Country penalty kicks because of handballs in the penalty area, a red card and two yellow cards — all very rare occurrences for CVU.

“Our guys played well under the circumstances,” Mead said, adding that the players stayed respectful in the wake of some controversial calls by the officials.

Mead added that while the CVU goal was officially attributed as having gone in as a result of a North Country player, the Redhawks’ Tom Eddy had set up Nick Hart for a shot that “appeared to have crossed the line.”

The game was tied at 1 with 10 minutes remaining, when the Falcons hit their second penalty kick. Then, with CVU playing all bodies up for offense, North Country (5-2-1) got a late goal to clinch the victory.