Redhawks capture Div. 1 boys soccer trophy (11/12/09)

Nov. 12, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

It was not so much a crowning as it was a restoration.


    Observer photo by Stephen Mease
Champlain Valley Union High boys soccer captains (from left) Tino Tomasi, Nick Hart, Andrew Blake and Chris Beaton hold the Division 1 boys soccer state championship trophies after defeating Burr and Burton Academy, 2-0, in Burlington on Saturday afternoon.


    Observer photo by Stephen Mease
Champlain Valley Union High junior Mike Clayton (23) drives the ball downfield against Burr and Burton’s Stephen Mull.

After a 2008 season in which it was eliminated in the quarterfinals, the Champlain Valley Union High boys soccer team reclaimed the Division 1 championship Saturday for the seventh time in eight years. The Redhawks had a solid 2-0 triumph over Burr and Burton Academy on Burlington High’s carpet.

CVU’s senior co-captain, deep defender and offense originator Chris Beaton said after the Redhawks’ semifinal victory over Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans last week on a wet home field that the team was looking forward to playing on Burlington High’s synthetic turf.

And after the game, Beaton confirmed that the venue was just fine, thank you very much, despite the raw morning and cold wind whipping off nearby Lake Champlain.

There were many important contributors to the victory, but it was three who took care of the scoring.

Senior midfielder Dylan Crow set up both goals. He gave an inside pass to junior Tino Tomasi for the score in the first half. Early in the second half, Crow booted a corner kick that junior Mike Clayton headed into the cage for the final tally.

For the three-year veteran Tomasi, getting in time up front after playing much of the season on defense, it was the first score of the year and brought forth a big smile.

“It’s good to be playing up top,” he said with a chuckle.

“We like having Tino up front,” coach T.J. Mead said. “Getting him off defense takes a load off his shoulders. Up front he can create.”

Clayton, who led CVU in scoring after missing 2008 with a leg fracture, put a deep chill on Burr and Burton’s hopes with just under three minutes gone in the second half. The tall tally man headed into the goal a hard shot from a Crow corner. It was his 20th goal of 2009.

In the never-ending pursuit of territorial integrity, CVU held overwhelming advantages in shots on goal (20-6) and corner kicks (8-0).

Playing a large role in helping keep the Bulldogs in front of their own house was junior midfielder Kyle Logan, who pressed the attack from midfield and twice got stymied on solid shots by busy and effective Burr and Burton goalie Matt Rosenthal, who had 17 stops.

Senior Nick Hart, Clayton (at least three times) and Tomasi were victimized by Rosenthal saves.

A team that comes to the title test with a 16-1 record no doubt has some stern stuff, and the Bulldogs showed it.

CVU net minder John Milbank had to come up with six rejections, one off Burr and Burton co-captain Brandon Oglivie moments before Tomasi broke the scoreless tie.

The Bulldogs’ best scoring chance came with 16:30 to go in the first half. B and B winger Danny Favreau motored in on goal and past a fallen Milbank with an open net looming. Defender Andrew Blake scrambled back to knock the ball away from Favreau and past the open left corner of the net to prevent a deadlock.

For Mead, the title is the third in the four seasons since he took the helm from retired coach Dan Shepardson.

The team, which allowed foes just six goals, started peaking at just the right time as the playoffs started, according to Mead.

The coach, who has said that he builds his teams from the back (defense) to the front, can get a bit grumpy when the opposition scores. There were very few occasions on which he was grumbling this year.

And with a core group returning next year, Mead said 2010 “will be very interesting.”

The road to the big trophy was the final high school campaign for seniors Elias Wiszereck, Jeffrey Wettstein, Milbank, Crow, Blake, Beaton and Hart.