In one-goal games it often comes down to a lucky bounce. On Saturday afternoon, the lucky bounce belonged to South Burlington.
The top-seeded Rebels got a goal from Courtney Barrett in the second half to lift them to a 2-1 win over No. 7 Champlain Valley and capture the Division I state championship for the second time in three years.
“I’m just so proud of them,” South Burlington head coach Anjie Soucy said. “This season has been so much fun and to finish the season this way is a great thing for them.”
Barrett’s goal came five minutes after Champlain Valley tied the game at 1.
South Burlington rushed the ball up the field and knocked the ball in front of the Redhawks net. The ball originally missed Barrett, but it hit a CVU defender and bounced right to the junior forward, who knocked it into the back of the net to give the Rebels’ the lead.
“I felt like I had to get a goal (after they tied it up),” Barrett said. “In the second half I just felt like this is going to be in, I’m going just going to put it in and we are going to take it home.”
The goal — Barrett’s 13th of the season — became necessary when Katie Arms scored her fifth goal of the playoffs to even the score for Champlain Valley.
“It was 0-0 the first time we played and 2-0 the second time, but the shots for the two games were 22-20,” Soucy said. “I knew it would be a close game.”
Arms knocked in a loose ball past Rebels’ goalie Julia Hudson after a Redhawks player knocked it in front of the net.
“We needed to think more offensively and that worked out for us,” said Champlain Valley coach Kate McDonald. “Our girls didn’t back off. They hung with them the entire time. They are still enthusiastic and positive even in the face of a loss because they know they played really strong today.”
The tying goal spurred a CVU rush and the Redhawks had a couple of chances to take a second-half lead.
“We kept the pressure on the entire game, which I am really proud of, but we just ran out of time,” McDonald said.
“After they scored that goal I just them to go out there and play hard,” Soucy said. “I told them to get the momentum back in our favor.”
South Burlington weathered the CVU onslaught and then turned around and took the lead themselves on Barrett’s strike.
“I think the goal sparked us to play even harder,” said South Burlington captain Anne-Marie Farmer. “We knew that we really had to come back and fight for this game. It put it into perspective that it was their game as much as ours.”
Early in the first half, it looked like South Burlington would not need a lucky bounce to take home the title. Farmer scored a great goal, weaving her way through a group of Champlain Valley defenders and then beating goalie Evangeline Dunphy to give her team a 1-0 lead just three minutes into the game.
“We really wanted to come out and set the tempo with intensity and it was pretty cool to see that happen,” Farmer said.
The Rebels kept up the pressure, but Dunphy (seven saves) held strong and the two teams went into halftime with South Burlington holding a one-goal lead.
“We know that South Burlington scores in bunches, so we knew how important it would be to hold them,” McDonald said. “But I know my defense doesn’t crumble . We always rely on Evangeline (Dunphy) and she didn’t let us down.”
The state title is the second in three years for South Burlington — and its eighth overall — and some redemption after the Rebels lost to Middlebury last season.