Charlotte girls shine during Twin State Soccer Cup

July-4-S-Twin-State-Pre-Game-copyby Tom Giroux

Champlain Valley’s top girls soccer standouts and recent graduates, Haliana Burhans and Mackenzie Kingston, played a major role in Vermont’s 2-2 draw with New Hampshire at the annual Lions Cup soccer match Saturday, July 19 at Castleton State College.

The Granite State squad may have scored early, about 10 minutes into this affair, but Vermont’s Morgan Kathan, knocked in the equalizer 12 minutes later during a scramble in front of the opponents net. Two minutes later, the New Hampshire girls slipped the ball past the keeper after an unfortunate miscue. After that mistake the VT girls took control of the match. Burhans at center striker position, with her impressive speed and technique, was always on the defenders mind. For the rest of the match, NH worked at containing Burhans and her teammates, and rarely countered an attack. Kingston played a dominant role as center back with her leadership and knowledge of the game, always in the right place at the right time. This was crucial at the 29:10 minute mark of the second half. With her team down by a goal and a NH frontrunner on a breakaway, Kingston hustled back to halt the attack. A minute later, with another opponent in possession and heading towards the goal, she committed a necessary foul to stall their opportunity.

The Vermonters never gave up. Every throw in Charlotte Stuart made created goal scoring opportunities. VT out shot NH 19-6. With 7:48 left to go Kingston shot the ball to Burhans, who made a slick pass to another teammate, whose shot at the goal just missed and flew over the crossbar. At 4:57, “Sportsmanship Award” winner, Hannah Merriam fired one over the top. A minute later another golden try was sent just wide. Finally, Stuart made a throw in to Emily George, who made a shot that was saved by the NH goalie, but George stuck with it and put the ball into the back of the net. With 1:02 on the clock, and the scoreboard at 2-2, the match ended in a draw for the first time since 2008. All the girls went home winners. 

Dustin Corrigan of Mount Abraham, Vermont’s coach, said he was “confident that [the tying goal] was going to happen” but that he “did get a little nervous towards the end. He also commented that Haliana “was giving them fits with her strength and speed,” and that Mackenzie “was key in back but also was strong in coming forward and giving [them] some chances.”

After the match, when asked about her time spent at Twin State, Kingston said, “Awesome, the best soccer experience I’ve ever had.” She “wish we would have won, glad it ended in a tie, not a loss.” She “knew or had heard of most of her teammates, but enjoyed getting to know them better, on and off the field.” Kingston will attend Connecticut College in the fall, reporting for preseason soccer practice on Aug. 22.

Burhans was “glad to have the opportunity to play with a bunch of girls from around the state” and “really enjoyed the team bonding experiences.” She will be a valuable asset to the Brandeis University soccer team when she reports to the first practice in a month. 

Champlain Valley Union (CVU) coach Stan Williams and Lori McClallen of Rutland High served as assistant coaches.             
In the boy’s match only five minutes had clicked off the clock when Stowe’s Robert Buonanno knocked in the Cale Thygesen’s rebound. When given another chance, Thygesen headed in a corner kick served by Mathew Fischer, a recent Harwood graduate. CVU’s Joe Castano scored a goal with nine minutes to play in the first half, for a 3-0 half time lead.

Fifteen minutes into the second half, New Hampshire’s Samuel Binogono cut the deficit to 3-1. The rest of the game was back and forth, with little scoring opportunities, but a lot of physical play. Castano scored his second goal of the match with only 44 seconds left to play. CVU standout, back Zack Evans of Shelburne, was named the “12th player.” Evans will report for preseason at the University of Vermont next month.

The Vermont boys were coached by Middlebury’s Doc Seubert, and assistants Buddy Hayford, Matt Gazo, and Steve Sass.