BURLINGTON – After a scoreless first half, it seemed like No. 3 Colchester may have finally found a recipe to upset the top-seeded Champlain Valley Union girls soccer team – a hot goalie and aggressive mindset.
But, just four minutes into the second half, Josie Pecor found the answer and the Redhawks were on their way to a 4-1 win and their third straight Division I girls soccer state championship.
“It feels incredible,” Pecor said after the team’s victory. “With our team chemistry, it just felt so good to pull one off with your best friends. We were a family this year and I couldn’t ask for better.”
After a first frame that saw an active Colchester goalkeeper keep the CVU offensive players off balance, the Redhawks talented Pecor found a way to beat Olivia Moore.
The junior received the ball at the top of the penalty box, took one touch to separate herself from the defender and fired a shot into the upper left corner for the 1-0 lead.
“I just happened to get something on it,” Pecor said of her shot. “Their goalie is incredible … I was surprised, to say the least.”
The highlight reel tally opened the floodgates for the Redhawks.
“We definitely found our groove, something seemed to click in the second half,” Pecor said. “We were able to combine together and play our game.”
Seven minutes later, Gillian Magnier added a fantastic finish of her own, carrying the ball close to the endline, then bending a shot into the goal for a 2-0 lead.
“These kids made some phenomenal goals,” said CVU coach Stan Williams. “Those were not cheapies by any means. Those were some big time players making big time plays in the big moments.”
Two minutes after that, Pecor added her second tally of the game, finishing off a two-person breakaway attempt. Edie Wright and Pecor found themselves alone against Moore and Wright dished it to the forward Pecor, who deposited it into the open net.
Catherine Gillwee capped off the offensive effort with a goal – another on a breakaway attempt – with just over 17 minutes remaining in the game.
“Once we scored that second goal, we started playing loose and as free as we have all year,” Williams said. “I don’t think we could have put together a bet-ter half of soccer than we did.”
Moore finished with five saves for the Lakers, who finish the season with a 12-5 record. Leah Lamothe scored the lone goal for Colchester, bending the ball into the net on a corner kick with under five minutes to play.
Maryn Askew earned the win in goal for the Redhawks (17-0) with five saves – including a key stop in the second frame with CVU holding a one-goal lead. Olivia Zubarik finished the game with two assists.
“Maryn is tremendous,” Williams said of his goalkeeper. “She is as good a goalie as there is.” “She gives us such confidence. She has to be ready to make that one save and she always does.”
It was the third title in a row and the eighth in nine years for the Redhawks.
“Through all the years, every CVU has team that tight bond where are able to just connect,” Pecor said. “That was what happened in this game, we found it together. It feels amazing to continue greatness.”