November 25, 2014

CVU soccer teams take state championships

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Members of the Champlain Valley Union High School boys soccer team hoist the championship trophy after beating Burlington High School 1-0 in overtime Saturday. (Observer photo by Shane Bufano)

Observer staff

Champlain Valley Union High School swept the Division 1 soccer state championships on Saturday, with both the boys and girls teams winning in overtime.

The games, held at Burlington High School, drew crowds of supporters from both sides.

GIRLS KNOCK OFF ESSEX

Saturday’s championship win was the second in a row for the CVU girls.

“I’m thrilled for the girls,” Coach Brad Parker said on Monday. “They’re still beaming. I just went and collected uniforms and they all still had big smiles on their faces.”

All three of the games played against the Essex High School Hornets this season went into overtime, and the championship game was no different.

“This was by far the best soccer that was played in the three games,” Parker said. “The officials did a very good job and the kids got down to playing the game.”

Essex scored the first goal of the game just 25 seconds in.

“It was kind of a shocker,” Parker said. “We were prepared, it’s like we were kind of caught off guard.”

The Redhawks rallied, though, and nearly 12 minutes later added their own point. Kaelyn Kohlasch served the ball into the field on a corner kick, and Mackenzie Kingston knocked it in, Parker said.

By the end of the regulation game, the score stood at 1-1. The teams began the first of two 15-minute overtime halves of sudden death—the first team to score would win. Essex had a few chances, as did CVU.

“Haliana Burhans, a speedy little junior, started having a little more success getting in front of the defense,” Parker said. “With a little over a minute left in the first period … Haliana beat the defender and was going in on the goal and the defender took her down, so we were awarded a penalty kick.”

Parker noted that it was the right call, and no one, including Essex, argued with it.

Parker called in Emma Davitt.

“She’s our best penalty kicker, and she stepped up and kicked it in and the game was over, we won,” he said. “It was exciting, very exciting.”

Parker said CVU played its best games during the postseason. During Wednesday’s semi-final game, CVU beat Burlington High School 2-0. Burhans scored the first goal, assisted by Audrey Morehouse. Kate Raszka scored the final goal, assisted by Burhans, in the final 30 seconds of the game.

Parker also noted that defender Abby Eddy and keeper Lily Harris had great playoff runs.

Parker said the entire season was exemplary, with strong team spirit on the field and off.

“Talk about being blessed as a coach … everyone came together and enjoyed each other and were friends, like a big family,” he said. “I think the kids really learned a lot of the things you’re supposed to learn with sports and really that’s what important. And to win was icing on the cake.”

BOYS TAKE TROPHY IN CLOSE MATCH

The CVU boys also played into overtime Saturday, in a 1-0 match against Burlington High School, a team the Redhawks played three times.

“The final was stressful to say the least,” Coach TJ Mead said on Tuesday. “Burlington is a very good team … the fact that we were playing them in the finals at their home field just added, I think, another layer of intensity to the game.”

Saturday’s game was deadlocked at 0-0 throughout the regulation game, with 90 percent of the game being played at midfield, Mead said.

“It ended up being a real midfield battle,” he said.

Approximately a minute and a half into the first 15-minute half of sudden-death overtime, Noah Lieberman “sprung open” the defense from midfield and “got a good shot,” Mead said.

The Burlington goalie made a good save, he said, but Shane Haley took advantage of a fumble.

“(Haley) kind of pounced on a bouncing rebound and just demolished it into the back of the net,” Mead said. “From the six yard line, just smashed it through the roof of the net.”

“The guys were pretty excited, needless to say,” Mead said.

Aside from the obvious goal of winning the state championship, it was a successful season, Mead said.

“We also set goals around the community and the atmosphere we try to create as a team,” he said. “The final piece was we just enjoyed each other. I enjoyed practice and the guys enjoyed practice. I always try to step back and say, ‘Did we look forward to practice or did it seem like a task?’ I think the guys looked forward to it.”

The games brought CVU’s state championship tally up to three, after the girls cross-country team won last weekend.

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