By Edd Merritt
Soccer. For men’s and women’s soccer teams, the friendly confines of UVM’s Buck Hard Field proved once again that the Redhawks of both genders were best in the state.
The women faced Colchester, and the game went evenly through the first half, scoreless at the break. Josie Pecor’s strike four minutes into the second half started the ball rolling for the top-ranked Hawks who ended on the winning end of a 4-1 score over the third-ranked Lakers. Pecor hit the net twice for CVU, the second an empty-netter as her teammate Edie Wright passed the ball behind the Colchester goalie, and all Josie had to do was tap it in. Charlotte goaltender Maryn Askew finished out four seasons in the net with five stops. This was CVU’s 19th state championship, the highest in the country according to the soccer federation record books.
Told by their coach that, while they—the men—were unbeaten this season (16 wins and one tie), that did not mean they were unbeatable. The Redhawks took it to heart and knocked off sixth-seeded Mount Mansfield Union for the state title, 3-0. It gave them their second undefeated season in a row, 32-0-2 for 2018 and 2019. It also gave them their 19th state championship, and while few may remember the school’s moniker of 30 years ago being “Soccer Central” under coach Peter Coffey, both men and women feel that it still holds.
Other more recent sports are challenging soccer supremacy by winning state championships themselves.
Claiming first place among Vermont runners earlier this fall, the Redhawk cross-country women traveled to Manchester, Conn., last week and claimed another New England championship, their sixth since 2003. They hope to repeat their trip to last year’s national event by doing well enough in the Northeastern Regionals two weeks from now. The point-getters for CVU were Alicia Veronneau in 10th place, Alice Larson (28th), Jasmine Nails (30th) and Charlotters Finn Mittelstadt (67th) and Sadie Holmes (111th).
Volleyball took a lead from CVU soccer by traveling to St. Michael’s the same evening after the kickers won their two state titles. The women had to play five sets before they knocked off the defending champs the top-ranked Essex Hornets. While kills put points on the board, it is often sets and digs that allow them to happen. Charlotte’s Lena Hansen joined Taylor Detch to lead the dig brigade with 17 each. Detch also served an ace for the title. It was truly a team championship with four players leading the way in several categories and three more providing assists.
The men added to their unbeaten record this year, a season in which they have lost only three sets—none of them against Essex in the state finals. Server Jacob Boliba led the way with six aces and 15 assists. Ethan Harvey scored on seven kills, and Baker Angstrom dug up the ball 12 times, while Noah Allen was above the net for five blocks. Boliba’s play in the state tournament earned him recognition in the Nov. 9 Burlington Free Press as “Athlete of the Week” for his play in both the semifinal win against Lyndon and final defeat of Essex.