Oct. 22, 2009
By Mal Boright
Going into the final week of the regular season, the Champlain Valley Union High girls soccer team faced a dangerous but doable road to an undefeated season and a top seed in the Division 1 playoffs.
At press deadline on Wednesday, the 9-0-3 Redhawks were home to 3-6-2 Essex High, a team they played to a scoreless tie in Essex at the beginning of the month.
Coming up at 4 p.m. on Friday is the regular season finale at Burlington High. The defending champs are 4-2-6 and played to a 1-1 draw with the Hawks in Hinesburg on Oct. 7.
In this late season run to the finish line, CVU has become a target for the teams behind it in the chase for pairings positioning.
South Burlington, which fell 4-0 to the Redhawks earlier in the season, gave a mighty effort last Thursday on its turf and took the favored Red and White into overtime. The Redhawks’ hustling Amanda Kinneston ended the tense fray with a goal 7:34 into the extra session for a 1-0 triumph.
It was Kinneston’s second tally of the season and what beauty it was. The junior attacker had moved in toward the Rebel goal from the left side, got momentarily tied up by a defender and then, with teammate Sara Lewis’ help, got loose, took two steps and booted a hard shot into the left side of the net.
Kinneston had been denied or just missed on three previous good opportunities, but the game winner made up for that.
Lewis had also been a serious threat to South Burlington on many occasions, advancing the ball deep into Rebel territory with abandon. She had two great chances late in the game, just missing the goal on the first and then being stopped by Rebel net minder Amy Simendinger with one second to go in regulation.
The Redhawks spent much of the afternoon in front of Simendinger, who had 12 stops. CVU goalie Emily Sackett had just one save.
South Burlington’s best chance at a score came late in the first half, when Sackett fired out of the net to stop a South Burlington charge, but missed the ball, which momentarily sat some five feet from the open cage. Alert defender Lindsay Hawley cleared it out of the danger zone before South Burlington could get a foot on it.
Hawley, Haleigh Smith, Lindsay Kingston and Kendall Berry helped keep the Rebels out of CVU territory the rest of the afternoon.