Nov. 6, 2008
By Mal Boright
After taking eventual Division 1 champion Burlington High School into four overtimes — 113 minutes — of classic, well-matched soccer competition last Wednesday before bowing 1-0, coach Brad Parker and his Champlain Valley Union High Redhawks were naturally very disappointed.
Observer photo by Ben Sarle
Champlain Valley Union High School sophomore Kendall Berry (front) kicks the ball during the Division I semifinals at Burlington High School on Wednesday, Oct. 29.
For the second straight season following their championship in 2006, CVU had bowed to the Seahorses in a playoff elimination game at the BHS field.
But where last year Burlington fell to Essex High in the title game, this time BHS won its first-ever girls soccer crown, nipping the Hornets on penalty kicks after 120 minutes, including four overtime periods of scoreless play.
Given those results, CVU, Essex and Burlington were as close to even as three can get.
Parker, even in defeat, was reasonably upbeat after the marathon loss played in 30-degree temperatures with a chilling wind blowing off Lake Champlain.
Calling it a fantastic soccer game, Parker told the news media that it was “nice it did not end on a restart. It ended in the flow of the play.”
Observer photo by Ben Sarle
Fans cheer for the Champlain Valley Union High girls soccer team in last week’s playoff game at Burlington High School.
And as Parker added, it was a great play by Burlington’s Tonya Conley, a junior, that produced the game’s lone score with six-and-a-half minutes remaining in the fourth overtime and the two teams in their second 10-minute extra session of eight-on-eight competition.
The Seahorses had been swarming around the CVU cage for more than a minute when forward Anna Kikut crossed the ball to Conley in front of the goal.
Conley, with her back to the cage, faked one way and made a sudden move the other way to get clear of a defender for a split second, just enough time for her to boot the ball into a wide open corner.
It was a slick move that gave her a shot that CVU’s sophomore goalie Emily Sackett, who had an outstanding 12-save game, had no chance at stopping.
Conley gave credit to her teammate, Kikut.
Sackett kept the game alive in the first overtime when she made a diving stop on a hard, point blank shot by Burlington sophomore forward Janelle McCann, a game-long threat.
Throughout the game, CVU’s Emma Eddy and Jahala Dudley made promising rushes into Burlington country but got turned aside by a solid BHS back line.
The Seahorses’ goalie, Stephanie Jaques, had five saves.
Rachel L’Esperance, Asia Sienko and Addie Peterson were among Redhawks who performed mightily on defense and in those critical midfield possession battles.
CVU finished the campaign with a 12-5 mark and can look forward to a promising 2009 campaign with 18 members of the 22-player roster scheduled to return.
Graduation will take four solid players, however. They are captains Dudley and Sienko, Amanda Blanchard and Becca Donaldson.