November 14th, 2013
It’s a first for Vermont and Champlain Valley Union High.
The Vermont Principals Association established volleyball as a two-year exhibition sport this fall and the Redhawks responded by winning the initial girls state tournament and finishing second in the boys event.
Coached by Dana Paulson, some 21 girls reported to tryouts when CVU’s doors opened in late August. Following the regular season, the Redhawks won four round-robin games to gain semifinals last weekend at Johnson State College and then nipped Burlington High in the semifinals before tripping Essex High for the first state title.
The CVU girls defeated Essex in two sets in the championship match after a grueling contest with Burlington High in the semifinal.
After beating the Seahorses in the first set, the Redhawks bowed 15-5 in the second set and then trailed 14-11 in the third and final test before rallying to a 16-14 triumph and the championship.
Paulson, who has coached varsity sports on and off since 1993, said “these girls are the kindest and hardest working bunch I have ever had the pleasure to coach.”
Coach Jeff Boliba’s boys team lost its first regular season game and then won eight straight to snag second seed for the tournament. The Redhawks went 12-0 in round-robin action to gain the top seed.
The ‘Hawks rapped Burlington High 2-0 in the semi but bowed to Essex in the best of three final. Essex won the first set. CVU then bounced back to win the second set, but the Hornets came from behind to take the finale 15-13.
“These boys had not played volleyball before, and in a matter of two months they all became solid players and runner-up state champions. I could not be more proud of this team,” said Boliba.
—Mal Boright, Observer correspondent