By Mal Boright
October 24th, 2013
After flying high to a 13-1 regular season record and top Division 1 tournament seeding, the Champlain Valley Union High boys soccer team opened the tournament campaign with a crackling 6-0 win Tuesday over visiting 16th seed Rutland High.
The defending champions will move on to a Friday home test (3 p.m.) against ninth seeded Burlington High (7-6-2). The Seahorses blanked eighth seed Burr and Burton Academy 2-0 in Manchester Tuesday.
CVU took both regular season fixtures against last year’s finalists, winning 1-0 at BHS and then 3-0 Sept. 21 at Hinesburg.
Coach T.J. Mead downplayed any suggestions that Tuesday’s easy victory might take an edge from his team in upcoming tough matches.
“Our goal is 80 minutes of shutout play,” Mead said. “To do that, our defenders must play without mistakes and fouls (in the box).”
That they did, limiting the Raiders (2-12-1) to three second-half shots on goal and one failed direct kick.
Goalies Brandon O’Connell and Oscar Kelly each played a half in notching the Redhawks’ 11th goose egg of the season. CVU has allowed but five scores while putting up 53.
Freshman Nolan Jimmo opened the scoring in the first half after some early CVU pressure resulted in near misses. With 15 minutes and 13 seconds remaining in the half, Patrick McCue knocked in co-captain Joe Castano’s well-directed corner kick for a 2-0 CVU edge.
“Pat did a good job,” said Castano later.
Castano scored on a point-blank shot following a slick cross from Chris Reiss on a two-on-one breakaway.
Max Brown, Reiss and Richard Baccei added second half tallies.
Rutland netminder Dan Kurchena had 12 stops while Rutland took three shots on the CVU cage.
“We are peaking,” said Castano. “It is just the right time.”
In their final regular season game Saturday in St. Albans, the Redhawks zapped Bellows Free Academy 4-0 as Jimmo, Brown, Zach Akey and Oliver Choiniere scored.