By Lauren Read
For the first 10 minutes of the Division I state championship, the Champlain Valley field hockey team had the momentum.
Oh, how quickly the tide can turn.
Top-seed South Burlington struck for a goal with a little over 10 minutes remaining in the first half, then scored two quick goals with under five minutes to go in the frame to pull away for a 3-0 win over the Redhawks on Saturday at Moulton Winder Field at the University of Vermont.
“We had a lot of positive things this year,” said CVU coach Tucker Pierson. “It’s a heartbreaking loss, I am not going to pretend it’s not, but it was a fantastic season.”
It is the third D-I state championship in a row for the Wolves and the second time they have beaten CVU in the last three finals.
“I expect that we will be able to come back to this venue next year,” Pierson said. “I know that they have learned a lot from each other and from this experience.”
The two teams traded chances early in the first half, with CVU getting the edge on penalty corners and scoring looks, but that all changed when South Burlington broke through.
“We just didn’t seem to get in our groove offensively,” Pierson said. “South Burlington possessed the ball well, and we seemed to play off our normal rhythm and our normal game.”
After three first half goals from the Wolves, both teams were shut out in the second half.
“I am impressed with our heart,” Pierson said. “Even being down 3-0, we played an impressive second half. We did not stop playing, and we did not give up. It shows a lot of grit.
“Coming into this game, we thought it was quite the opportunity,” she added. “We just wanted to value the experience.”
The Champlain Valley girls volleyball team got a measure of revenge on Rice in the Division I semifinals, getting the Green Knights back for two regular season losses with a straight set win to advance to the final.
Unfortunately for the Redhawks, top-seeded Essex was looking for its own revenge in the championship match.
The Hornets topped Champlain Valley, 3-1, on Saturday at Saint Michael’s College to dethrone the defending champs and win the school’s first volleyball state title.
The Redhawks, who topped Essex in the final last year, came out of the gate strong, getting a 25-21 win in the first set. But the Hornets rattled off wins in the next three sets to close out the win.
With only three seniors — Shannon Loiseau, Mya Rendall and Tori Bergstein — CVU has a bright future in the state’s newest varsity sport.