Community News Service
The Champlain Valley Union High School boys soccer team have defeated their quarter- and semi-final playoff opponents with an aggregate score of 14-1 in what continues to be an emphatic season for the defending Division I champions.
The Redhawk’s 7-1 win on Tuesday, Oct. 29 against Brattleboro Union secured the top-seeded boys (16-0-1) an opportunity to reclaim the championship at Burlington’s Buck Hard Field this Saturday, Nov. 2 against Mount Mansfield.
The No. 6 Cougars took down Burlington, 5-1, in their semifinal on Oct. 29. Game time for Saturday’s final showdown was not available at press time.
The Redhawks landed in the semifinals after easily eliminating Burr and Burton on Friday. Oct. 25, 7-0, in the quarterfinal.
The Redhawks kept their foot on the gas for the full 80 minutes against Burr and Burton. This unrelent-ing pressure combined with a confident defense led to two first-half goals.
Redhawks Captain Roberts netted CVU’s first point off of a 14th-minute giveaway from Burr and Bur-ton. Less than a minute later, he assisted Batchelder through a heat-seeking cross from the left to make it 2-0 going into halftime.
The Bulldogs defense took a pounding in the second half as Sinopoli peppered their goal with shots. Five minutes in, Sinopoli capped an electrifying run past the defense with a powerful strike into the lower right hand corner of the net, far out of the keeper’s reach. Four minutes later the Redhawks senior completed a hat-trick, adding two more off a corner and a cross.
Teammates Johnson and Riley Gauthier piled on the final two goals of the game, shutting out Burr and Burton 7-0.
CVU coach Rob Cole said he doesn’t expect the team will be distracted by its triumphs.
“We cannot take [the regular season] as any kind of assurance and the kids really haven’t. They’ve been working hard the entire time and not taking anything for granted,” Cole said.
Brattleboro opened strong in the semifinal.
“We started the game very fast, and I thought so did Brattleboro, they didn’t let us out of our half for the first few minutes of the game,” Cole said. “We didn’t get rattled and we stuck to our game plan”
By the 5th minute, the Redhawks found their groove, burning down the sidelines and dispatching quick, consistent passes.
In the 11th minute, Jack Sinopoli found the other end of Captain Cullen Swett’s freekick and led an of-fensive rampage that added Jonah Roberts, Sam Johnson and James Schmidt to the scoresheet. John-son had a pair of goals to make it 5-1 at halftime.
Brattleboro’s Zinabu McNeice landed the Colonels’ lone scoring shot in a free kick about 10 minutes ahead of the half.
In the second half, Sinopoli and Holden Batchelder added two more goals to complete the Redhawks trouncing of the Colonels.
Looking forward to Saturday’s final, Coach Cole said he expects more of the same.
“It sets us up very well to know that — no matter who we play — we are going to be very competitive and have a great chance to win the game,” he said.
Community News Service is a collaboration with the University of Vermont’s Reporting & Documentary Storytelling program.