Sept. 29, 2011
By Mal Boright
It was not until chapter three of its “Highlander Series” that the Champlain Valley Union boys soccer team was able to get an outcome to its liking against pesky Harwood.
Playing on its home field Monday, the Hawks rolled to a 3-1 triumph and got, for now, a huge Highlander off their backs.
Chapter one in the tale took place late last fall when underdog Harwood came to Hinesburg and knocked the top seeded Hawks out of the post season tournament by a 1-0 score.
The second chapter came two weeks ago, when CVU went to Harwood’s Duxbury field and suffered its lone loss of the campaign, 3-2.
After a scoreless first half Monday, the Redhawks went up, 1-0, early in the second half on Zack Evans’ goal. Harwood quickly tied it, but not for long as forward Shane Haley — faster than a speeding jet — found the range at 32:42 and again with 4:13 remaining.
The win lifted the Redhawks to 6-1.
So why have the Highlanders been such a pain in the net for CVU, one of the state’s premier soccer programs?
“They really work hard,” responded CVU senior co-captain Sam Raszka, who was in all three games.
CVU coach T.J. Mead added: “They (Harwood) are strong and determined.”
Into the second half the game appeared to be a replay of last autumn’s tournament test, in which CVU dominated geographical play but could not get the ball into the cage.
Haley got robbed a couple of times by Harwood keeper Kaile MacLean-Daley, while Todd Forrester had a header bounce off an upright and others saw hard shots just miss open corners.
Assists on the CVU goals went to Joe Castano, Chad Bateman and Raszka. CVU had 17 shots on the Highlander net. Bateman and Parker Cornbrooks were among CVU standouts of defense and midfield.
Harwood’s lone score came when the ball suddenly emerged from a scrum at the right edge of the CVU cage and crossed to the left corner, where Conor Lyons booted it into an empty corner. CVU goalie Brandon O’Connell (four stops) had no chance.
It was the second victory in three days for the Redhawks, who chalked up a 3-0 win over Mount Mansfield on “Spirit Day” Saturday. Raszka knocked in two scores and added an assist on Rashi Brooklyn’s goal.