Not much has separated the Champlain Valley Union girls soccer team and rival Burr and Burton in the postseason the last couple of seasons.
Last year, penalty kicks made all the difference in a semifinal loss for the Redhawks.
This season the two teams reunited, only this time they met in the Division I state final at Burlington High School and CVU was looking for redemption.
“We both wanted it,” said CVU co-captain Ali Bisaccia. “It’s fun to play a team like that.”
This time the Redhawks were determined to find something to separate themselves from the Bulldogs. Forward Charlotte Hill was determined to keep pushing past early missed chances. Goalie Maryn Askew was determined to keep a clean slate and the midfield was determined control a potent BBA offense.
“It’s a phenomenal team,” said CVU coach Stan Williams. “I had a feeling that we might see [Burr and Burton] again and we certainly relished that opportunity and it made for a great final.”
That determination paid off for the Redhawks. Hill broke through for the lone goal of the game, Askew maintained the shutout and top-seeded CVU topped Burr and Burton 1-0 to win the D-I state championship.
“That’s the best feeling in the world,” Bisaccia, a senior, said. “I am really proud of the team. I wouldn’t want to end the season and my career any other way.
“I don’t even have the words, I am just so excited.”
The win capped off an undefeated season for the Redhawks and marks the 17th title for the girls soccer program.
“Our seniors created such an atmosphere of inclusion,” Williams said. “They were the hardest workers and when your best players are your hardest workers, it makes our job pretty easy.
“You’ll always remember the group, but this is the senior’s championship.”
After the two teams traded chances through a scoreless first half, frustration could have set in for the Redhawks and Hill, who came oh-so-close on a couple of occasions.
“I had been a little frustrated, we had a lot of chances and I had had a lot of one on one’s with the goalie and she came out well,” Hill said. “I knew that one was coming, all I had to do was get in there.”
But Hill and the Redhawk offense persisted and finally got on the board in the 65th minute. Bisaccia served a ball forward that forced a race between Hill and BBA goalie Sam Citron. Citron won the race but bobbled the ball and the CVU sophomore tapped the ball into the empty net for the 1-0 lead.
“She was opportunistic,” Williams said. “For Charlotte to just keep going and going, she logged a lot of miles.”
After the goal, the Redhawk defense clamped down and held the Bulldogs off the board for the final 15 minutes to clinch the title.
“It’s a feeling like I can’t describe,” Hill said of the championship win.