Oct. 30, 2008
By Mal Boright
Coach Kate McDonald and her Champlain Valley Union High field hockey team went into the heat of a Division 1 championship contest on Saturday … and played like it was just another day at the office.
Or in the oven. The Little Muffins, as McDonald often calls her team, rose to the occasion like a brilliant French soufflé in scoring an emphatic 3-0 victory over top-seeded and previously undefeated Hartford High (15-1-1) at the University of Vermont’s Moulton-Winder Field.
Not wind, not rain, not title game pressure could keep the Redhawks from this crown, the first Division 1 field hockey hardware in the school’s history.
CVU’s only other field hockey title came in 1998, when the school played a Division 2 schedule and was also coached by McDonald.
While complimentary of Division 2, McDonald admitted, “There is something about Division 1. This is incredible.”
Her team’s performance was solidly incredible in all phases of the game.
In goal, junior Elizabeth Goddette stopped six Hartford shots in recording the (12-2-3) Redhawks’ 10th shutout of the season.
Offensively, CVU got goals from Emmaleigh Loyer, Katie Longshore and Louise Gibbs, the fifth time it has scored three or more times in a contest.
Observer photo by Karen Pike
Champlain Valley Union High field hockey player Kelsey Jensen (22) goes up against Hartford’s Ashley Brown (5) during the first half of the Division 1 Championship on Saturday.
Loyer’s score, assisted by Kelsey Jensen, came with a little more than 12 minutes gone in the first half and turned what until then had been a tentative CVU performance into the more dominating effort that would take it through the remainder of the game.
The first minutes had McDonald a little concerned. She noted the team had experience on the UVM turf and felt good about its chances going in.
“Once the time comes and the whistle blows, there is some anxiety there,” she added.
Loyer told reporters that once the first goal went in, “we kicked it up a notch.”
And that notch paid off about three minutes later when Longshore, always a presence around the cage, popped in the Redhawks’ second score off a penalty corner. It was the senior shot maker’s 12th tally of the campaign.
Sophomore Gibbs iced the game with a little more than three minutes left in the second half, rushing in off the right side and firing a clean shot past the Hurricanes’ net minder, Emily Glick.
It was perfect timing for Gibbs’ second pointer of the year.
Helping to keep Hartford off its game were Jensen with her usual FedEx long range delivery whacks of the ball up the field, plus defender Kathryn Powell and others who made life difficult for Hurricanes attempting to get in close for shots at Goddette.
Hartford coach Heather Scudder praised the Redhawks’ hard running game, adding that all three scores “were good goals. It was their day.”
The tone for the successful crowning appearance was set a week ago Tuesday when the Redhawks knocked out Middlebury Union 2-0 in a semifinal to make up for a disheartening, 1-0 double overtime semifinal defeat last year in Middlebury.
Saturday’s game was the high school career finale for seniors Lucy Barrett, Kelsey Gagnon, Anne Bertolet, Danielle Michael and Longshore.
And rooting hard for the team and joining on-field celebrations was junior KK Logan, who fired in five goals in the season’s first seven games before a knee injury ended her playing time.
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