By Mal Boright
They made Vermont sports history Saturday morning.
Let us count the ways Coach Stan Williams’ girls soccer Redhawks left their marks in the Vermont sports annals.
In nudging sixth seeded Essex High 1-0 Saturday morning in the championship contest at Burlington High, the top-seeded CVU girls completed an 18-0 campaign, the first Division 1 team to rack up a perfect season since 1996. That perfecto was also by a CVU team.
It was their third straight championship, making the ‘Hawks only the second combine to accomplish that feat. The first was also CVU, winning four in a row from 1995 to 1998.
It was their 17th shutout in a campaign in which the opposition scored just a single goal, a penalty kick in a 4-1 victory at North Country Union High. That may well be a record. On the other end of the field, the Redhawks unloaded 72 goals on the opposition.
Junior goalkeeper Maddie Turneau, who did not allow a ball past her in 15 games, gave credit to “the defenders in front of me. They are great.”
Turneau had a busy morning Saturday, particularly in the first half, in which she made five of her six stops as Essex applied pressure in the final 15 minutes of the initial 40.
This followed the game’s lone score, when midfielder Paige DuBrul knocked in a corner kick from Kaelyn Kohlasch just a little over three minutes into the contest. The Kohlasch-DuBrul corner kick hookup has served the Redhawks well all season.
“I looked for Paige every time on that play,” said Kohlasch, a senior defender with a booming kick.
The early score was just what the Redhawks wanted, but Essex, losers 2-0 and 3-0 to the Redhawks in the regular season, were not about to think “same old, same old” and softly fade away.
The Hornets, with about 15 minutes left in the half, started getting territorial advantage, but CVU held on with good defense on corner kicks and a Turneau save on a direct kick by Essex’ leading scorer (19 goals) Charlotte Stuart.
“We panicked a little bit before halftime,” DuBrul said. “After intermission we shut them down. We played our game.”
Perhaps the Hornets best opportunity at a deadlocking goal came about 10 minutes into the second half, when Stuart appeared to have a breakaway opportunity on Turneau. Kohlasch appeared out of nowhere and got next to a racing Stuart, who kicked the ball to the right of the cage and out of the end line.
Turneau said the play looked like trouble until Kohlasch made her move.
“Stuart is a very good player,” Turneau said.
That was the only serious threat by the Hornets in the second half—they got into deep CVU territory on only three occasions.
Essex net minder Essie Fiore-Young made eight saves, including sizzling stops on Haliana Burhans and Mackenzie Kingston.
Essex shut down Burhans, who had 25 goals coming into the contest. Nevertheless, the Redhawks’ Lady Lightning was an offensive force throughout and had the Hornets scrambling.
“We know them well,” Burhans, a member of the previous two championship teams, said of Essex, which she called “a very strong team.”
Last year in the title tilt, the Redhawks nipped the Hornets 2-1 in overtime, the Hornets only loss of the year.
‘We changed some formations for the second half,” said Williams, who is 18-0 with a Division 1 crown after this first year holding the team reins.
Last Wednesday, the Redhawks gained the championship test with an old-fashioned Metro greeting to fourth-seeded, first year Division 1 foe U-32 of East Montpelier in the form of a 5-0 bopping in Hinesburg.
Kingston, DuBrul, Burhans, Sierra Morton and Catherine Cazayoux scored for CVU, with Kingston notching the initial tally in the game’s first two minutes.
The co-captain agreed it is important, especially as the higher-seeded and favored team, to get on the board early.
“If you don’t, it can lead to a flaky half,” she said.
There was very little, if any, flaky play by the 2013 Redhawks.