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CVU girls soccer captures Division I state crown

Sophomores lead Hawks to 4-0 victory

Nov. 10, 2011

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

LEFT: Champlain Valley Union’s Haliana Burhans (left) jumps for joy after scoring a goal against South Burlington during the Redhawks’ 4-0 title victory on Nov. 5. RIGHT: Members of CVU’s girls soccer team huddle and hoist their D-I state championship plaque and trophy. BOTTOM: The 2011 Division I state champion CVU girls soccer team finished 16-1-1. (Observer photos by Shane Bufano and Glenn Fay Jr.)

In the minutes before 3 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 5), the Burlington High School soccer field was one big happy red and white celebration.

There was Champlain Valley Union sophomore Mackenzie Kingston being hooked up for television audio and the describing of her all-important first goal in the Redhawks’ 4-0 Vermont Division I girls soccer title victory over South Burlington, while her gleeful teammates crowded around and cheered her on.

On another part of the field were parents and supporters in joyous post-game celebration mode, waiting to congratulate the players on the program’s first crown since 2006 and 12th in 19 championship game appearances.

In a sport where there are many surprises — the 2010 top-seeded team being upset at home in the semifinals by underdog Colchester for example — the Redhawks gained the big trophy after graduation took 13 members from last season’s team. But this 2011 crew included a band of sizzling sophomores, which accounted for all the goals in the victory over the defending champion Rebels.

There was more, much more.

“The chemistry of this team was phenomenal,” said veteran head coach Brad Parker. “The kids really liked each other and were fun to be around. They didn’t have cliques. It was magical.”

The team was also able to get past injuries to two star players. Veteran midfielder Talon Tomasi missed the season due to an early summer knee injury. A balky knee felled junior midfielder Taylor Goldsborough at mid season after some dominating play in Redhawk wins. Both were on the bench to provide support.

The victory was 16-1-1 CVU’s third of the season over third seeded 14-4 South Burlington, which was outscored a combined 10-0.

Senior co-captain and back Sara Lewis said that the Redhawks did not take anything for granted despite the two previous victories over the Rebels.

“We knew how good they are,” Lewis said of the usually high scoring defending champs. “We played our normal game.”

That “normal” game limited South Burlington to just one shot on goalie Bryn Philibert.

Joining Lewis in the midfield action, which gave CVU overall control, were senior Sienna Searles, junior Abby Eddy and freshman Paige Dubrul, among others.

Lewis said the Rebels “got a little frazzled” as the score against them mounted, but “they never gave up and kept coming.”

The all-important first goal came with 12 minutes and six seconds remaining in the first half when Kingston knocked a rebound into the South Burlington cage after another sophomore, Kaelyn Kohlasch, crossed the ball into point blank territory.

“We knew the first goal was important,” Kingston told the television reporter.

The game-changing second score was a matter of sophomore Emily Kinneston alertly taking advantage of a situation.

With just under 12 minutes gone in the second half, Kinneston stuck towards the front instead of retreating when the Rebels cleared the ball from deep within their side of the field. Kinneston swooped in on the clearing effort, gained control of the ball, took a few steps and launched a shot into the left side of the South Burlington net.

“There was no one in front so I went for the goal,” said Kinneston.

Just over 10 minutes later, more members of the Scintillating Sophomore Squad iced the game. Speedster Haliana Burhans scored into an empty net following Dubrul’s well-struck free kick.

Emma Davitt, 18 seconds later, blasted a penalty kick into the lower left corner to conclude the scoring.

For seniors Searles, Philibert, Lewis, Shelby Hanlon and Sophia Steinhoff, it was a finale in which all made significant contributions.

For the rest, Goldsborough had a prediction when she took a quick look into the future.

“Next year we are going to be awesome!” she proclaimed.