Redhawks fly high

CVU sweeps soccer championships

The Champlain Valley Union girls soccer team celebrate their second consecutive state championship with a 2-1 overtime win against top-seeded Essex on Saturday at Buck Hard Field in Burlington. Photo by vtsportsimages.com

By Sheri Duff

It looked like Essex High School was on course to become the first undefeated Division 1 girls soccer team since 2004. During the regular season Essex beat Champlain Valley Union (CVU) 3-2 in double overtime, and their second meeting, after two overtimes, ended in a scoreless tie. The championship game promised more of the same and the two teams did not disappoint.

The Hornets tried to continue their dominance over the Redhawks with a fast start, scoring a goal 25 seconds into regulation, but the Redhawks were not to be denied. They quickly regained composure, controlled possession, and in the 12th minute Mackenzie Kingston scored the equalizer off a corner kick by Kaelyn Kohlasch.

Although both teams had scoring opportunities in the second half, the score remained knotted at one, forcing overtime for the third time this season. The battle continued until CVU’s Haliana Burhans, on a breakaway, was taken down by an Essex defender in the 18-yard box. That play set up a penalty kick for sure-footed Emma Davitt who delivered the game-winner and the Redhawks’ second straight crown.

The Champlain Valley Union boys team was on a mission–to return to their previous glory. After an early quarterfinal exit two years ago and a loss in the title game last year, the state championship seemed particularly elusive. But not this year.

During Saturday’s finale, neither team was able to capitalize on their scoring chances, which sent the game into overtime. Barely a minute into overtime, CVU’s Tucker Shelley began the game-winning sequence. Shelley found Noah Lieberman who took a shot from inside the 18-yard box that the Seahorses’ goalie was able to deflect. Luckily for the Redhawks, prolific scorer Shane Haley was there to seize the rebound and deliver CVU’s first state championship since 2009. Mission accomplished.

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