by Tom Giroux
The 39th annual VT/NH Lions All-Star Soccer matches were held July 20 at Sodexo Field on the Franklin Pierce University campus in Ridge, N.H. The proceeds from this years event support the N.H. Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation and the Vermont Austine Green Mountain Lions Camp, a two-week Brattleboro summer camp for hearing-impaired children.
Approximately 3,168 graduating high school boys and girls soccer players have participated in this annual event, the second longest All-Star game to be played between Vermont and New Hampshire; only the Shrine Sugar Bowl football games have been played longer. The boys matches started in 1975 and the girls followed in 1983. Over the last 39 years, the Lions clubs have raised more than $626,000 for many charitable causes.
The girls match started at 4 pm. The three representatives from CVU were all in the starting lineup. Charlotte’s own Lily Harris played outstandingly in the goalie box, as did Kate Raszka at midfield. Williston’s Taylor Goldsborough played everywhere in the back. The girls suffered a tough 1-0 loss on a very “soft” goal around the 32-minute mark of the first half. A Vermont player was called for a ticky-tac infraction just outside the 18-yard box, and a New Hampshire player quickly took a wonderful shot that Harris didn’t have a chance at saving. She held the opponents at bay for the rest of the half. The Vermont girls, coached by BFA-Fairfax Geri-Lyn Witalec, played a politically-correct, conservative first half, with all 24 players seeing time on the turf. It was a constant revolving
door at the scoring table.
The second 45-minute half was all Vermont. They dictated play from the start, and the ball seemed to be magnetized to the Granite State side of the pitch. Vermont added a frontrunner, so it gave the middies three teammates to look for in the offensive third, and one less unnecessary back wasn’t an issue. The only trouble was New Hampshire refused to yield anything against all the extra pressure, and Vermont couldn’t seem to find the back of the net.
In the end, the Vermonters gave it their all until the final horn blew. The win snapped a 3-match Vermont winning streak, and the series now stands at New Hampshire 17, Vermont 10, ties 4. For her versatility of play and dominating presence, CVU’s Taylor Goldsborough was named the MVP.
The boy’s match, at 6:30 pm, went on until lights were needed and was a fun one to watch for a Vermont fan. CVU had two players on the squad, Noah Lieberman and Shane Haley. Both earned a starting position: Lieberman at midfield and Haley up front. And Haley put on quite a show. He scored a breakaway goal before the crowd settled into their seats. He added two more goals in spectacular fashion during the opening half. Lieberman had an assist on one of Shane’s goals, and he was a key figure in controlling the midfield. Half-time score: Haley and Vermont 3, N.H. 0. Unlike the first game, the match was all but over, and we still had a half to watch.
For good measure, Haley put his name in the record books (twice) by dishing out an assist on one of his team’s two second-half goals; they went on to a 5-2 win. He is now one of only two players in history to score three goals (Don White, 1980) and get 4 points (Guy Gadreau 1976). As expected, Haley was named MVP. Vermont has won the last four years, and the series standings is New Hampshire 17, Vermont 14, ties 8.
Richard (Doc) Seubert, Middlebury Union, an assistant coach on the boy’s side, is now 4-0-1 while he has been on the coaching staff. Katie Mack, BFA-Fairfax, is the first female to coach a Vermont boys team. She and Geri are the first duo from the same school to be head coaches the same year. And, from all the facts that could be gathered, this is the first time in 31 years that the MVPs were chosen from the same school.