In the quarterfinals of the America East tournament, locked in a double-overtime nail-biter with Binghamton, the University of Vermont men’s soccer team needed a goal to extend their season.
Former Champlain Valley standout Shane Haley came through for the Catamounts, weaving his way through defenders with some slick moves before sending a shot on goal that bounced to a wide-open Brian Wright for the game-winner.
“Big plays are just natural for him,’ said UVM and CVU teammate Patrick McCue. “From senior year of high school to now, he has just gotten better. I am always shocked to see what he does.”
Haley’s assist helped extend the Catamounts’ season all the way to the second round of the NCAA tournament, where UVM fell in double overtime, 2-1, to Virginia on Sunday.
Haley and McCue are among three former Redhawks now playing for the UVM men’s soccer team – the other is defender Zack Evans – giving the Burlington-based college program a little local flavor.
“It just shows how good our high school was,” McCue said. “It’s really nice to say we are coming from Vermont, we’re locals and we can still make it at this level.”
The presence of the three CVU players speaks well of the strength of the Redhawk program, winners of 16 total state titles.
Haley, a Williston native, was the first of the three to make the transition from the Hinesburg high school to the campus of UVM and he has used his quick feet to make an impact for the Cats. A Gatorade and Burlington Free Press Player of the Year for the 2012-13 season, he led the Redhawks to the Division I state championship.
Evans, from Shelburne, followed his CVU teammate to UVM a year later. The college junior was also named to the Gatorade Player of the Year and was a team two-time All-State first-team selection.
Only a sophomore, McCue is the latest CVU player to join UVM after a high school career that saw him named to Metro Division and Burlington Free Press all-state teams.
“It makes it 100 percent more special,” McCue said. “(Haley and Evans) were my captains, my leaders, in high school and they are good friends of mine now.”
Haley, a senior, will graduate after this season and finishes his career with two goals and six assists.
While the postseason run for UVM ended in the second round, the season included earning the America East Conference’s first at-large bid since 2007, finishing with the second-most wins in program history (14) and downing Rider 4-1 at Virtue Field, only the second NCAA game the team has hosted.
“At the beginning of the season our goal was to make a run in the NCAA tournament,” McCue said.
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