Sept. 4, 2008
By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

“That was a good start,” Champlain Valley Union High girls soccer coach Brad Parker said Tuesday evening, shortly after his youthful squad dispatched Rice Memorial High, 3-1, on a hot afternoon in South Burlington.

The next test for Parker’s 2008 edition comes Thursday afternoon at 4:30 on the home confines in Hinesburg, as the Redhawks host South Burlington High. On Saturday, CVU will travel to St. Albans for a 10 a.m. session against Bellows Free Academy.

There were many new faces on the Redhawks after 13 members of last season’s varsity quarterfinalists were lost to graduation. But the result for Tuesday’s game was solid, as Parker rotated most, if not all, of his players in and out of the perspiration-inducing contest.

“I think our players were nervous in the first half, but they settled down. There were very few mistakes out there,” Parker said.

After a 1-1 tie at the half, the Redhawks put up the eventual game-winning goal with just two minutes gone in the second half. Midfielder and senior captain Asia Sienko slammed a direct kick off Rice goalie Alaina Hauke’s hand and into the right corner of the net.

For Sienko, it was a particularly happy tally. She had barely missed a pointer in the first half when her direct kick blast bounced off the left upper corner of the Rice cage.

CVU’s third goal came with 15:08 left and was an underclass project. Junior Hillary Boss launched a high drive from some 30 yards out and sophomore Emma Eddy headed the ball into the net from directly in front of the cage.

The initial score of the game came with five minutes gone in the first half, when CVU senior Amanda Blanchard knocked a low, 10-yard shot into the left corner of the net.

Rice, which got just one good shot on goal in the first 40 minutes, made it pay off. Junior forward Brittany Pfaff got control as three CVU defenders hit the deck in a scrum 10 yards in front of the net. Pfaff, starting with her back to the net, made a turning shot that slammed into the high center part of the cage in one of the prettiest scores seen in a while.

“That was an incredible play she made,” said Parker. “No one could have stopped that shot. It was amazing.”

The coach had praise for his sophomore goalie, Emily Sackett, who, in her initial varsity start, came up with six saves, including five in the second half.

“She did a great job today.” Parker said

Three of her second half stops came on direct kicks and another on a dangerous corner.

Eddy, Erika Gobeille and Lindsay Kingston were among those who created good shot opportunities while junior Addie Peterson played some very effective defense with others on the back line.

CVU held an 8-7 edge in shots on goal.