Redhawks use solid work rate to defeat MMU (10/22/09)

Boys soccer team closing in on top playoff seed

Oct. 22, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

With the Division 1 primo playoff seed in their sights, coach T.J. Mead and his 12-1 Champlain Valley Union High boys soccer team close out the regular season on Saturday with a bus ride to Newport and an 11 a.m. meeting with 4-8-1 North Country Union High.

The Redhawks looked like a top seed on Tuesday with a sharp, 3-0 home victory over 5-6-1 Mount Mansfield Union and its acrobatic net minder, Conor Leland.

Leland turned aside 11 CVU shots, including a penalty kick in an athletic exhibition in the Cougars’ cage.

CVU prevailed, in the words of Mead, because of a “solid work rate, moving the ball around and getting the 50-50 balls, especially in the second half.”

The Redhawks held a substantial advantage in territorial play and goalie John Milbank had four stops in chalking up CVU’s eighth shutout of the campaign.

Senior co-captain Chris Beaton, a solid defender, notched the victors’ initial goal with 10 minutes gone in the first half, knocking the ball past Leland from out of a crowd in front of the net. It was Beaton’s first score of the year.

With 9:23 left in the half, Mark Clayton took a set-up from Chris Sulva, got a one-on-one situation with Leland and unleashed a 20-foot slam for a 2-0 lead and his 16th tally.

Zach Blanchard notched CVU’s second half goal with 11:04 remaining, a point-blank shot after a pass from Nick Hart. It was Blanchard’s fourth goal.

One of Leland’s primary victims was midfielder Kyle Logan, whom the MMU goalie robbed on a couple of occasions. Logan just missed hitting corners on two other shots.

Dylan Crowe, Henry Sengle and Clayton also had strong efforts turned aside.

In the meantime, Ryan Boland, Elias Wiszereck and Beaton and others played solid deep defense to keep the Cougars from mounting sustained attacks.

“We are on the upswing,” Mead said.