CVU takes place among best in history

CVU takes place among best in history


CVU takes place among best in history


The red-and-white bull’s-eye on perennial girls soccer powerhouse Champlain Valley Union High School grew large enough this fall to use as a shield. So the Redhawks did.

Their response to back-to-back state crowns? A run to the Division I final flawless enough to make an honest dreamer blush.

Their solution to where they fit in the program’s overstuffed history books? A pretty catchy headline for the latest championship chapter.

The Untouchables.

Top-seeded Champlain Valley’s 1-0 victory against rival Essex in Saturday’s D-I final at Buck Hard Field achieved it all — three-peat, 18-0 perfection and a 72-1 goal differential that earns these Redhawks a spot in the discussion of the state’s all-time great squads.

“They made that a goal. They really wanted to put a stamp on not just the season but a little bit of a legacy and I give them all the credit in the world,” CVU coach Stan Williams said. “That motivated them and drove them all year.

“I’m not enough of a Vermont soccer historian to know, but I definitely think they had to have put themselves in the conversation.”

The resume includes the division’s first 18-0 season since 1996 and only its second run of three-or-more consecutive crowns — marks last achieved by, fittingly, CVU. The Redhawks’ 17 shutouts only serve to underscore their superiority.

“It was a great way to end our senior year, our whole high school career,” CVU senior Mackenzie Kingston said. “From the very beginning this was our goal, we wanted to go undefeated, we wanted to go all the way, we wanted to practice to the very last day and play on the very last day.”

Junior midfielder Paige DuBrul’s fourth-minute finish of senior Kaelyn Kohlasch’s corner kick — for the second time in as many games — provided the day’s only tally. It set the nerve-wracking stage for the 76 minutes that followed.

“Usually we get a few more, get an early goal and keep going at them,” Kohlasch said. “They did a great job of shutting us down.

“I was lucky Paige was there to put a foot on it. We practice a lot, after practice, me and her.”

The No. 6 Hornets gamely trimmed the Redhawks’ chances and got more shots on goal (5-3) in the first half but couldn’t get past junior goalkeeper Maddie Turnau (six saves).

In the final six minutes of the first half, Turnau denied Essex (12-5-1) senior striker Charlotte Stuart once with a diving, fingertip save of a half-volley from the right side and then with a sure-handed catch of Stuart’s curling free kick from 30 yards.

“One of the things we talked with (Turnau) about all year was that you need to be ready to make that save because you never know when it’s going to come up,” Williams said. “Maddie being as good as she is helped us play the type of defense we did in front of her.”

Champlain Valley regained its grip on the contest after the break, testing Hornet goalkeeper Essie Fiore (four saves) with chances on DuBrul and Haliana Burhans.

But Essex never got close to an equalizer after Stuart, battling to beat Kohlasch to a ball on the break, couldn’t get a square shot and missed wide of the left post midway through the second half.

“You look at the way they controlled midfield — we moved two back, we tried moving a guy up and they still controlled everything,” Essex coach Bill O’Neil said. “No matter what you do to them, they’re very smart, they’re very composed.”

A rematch of the 2012 final, Saturday’s victory was the Redhawks’ third this year against Essex and the only time the champions failed to score multiple goals in game.

“It was very tough. Essex was excellent,” Williams said. “They had a great gameplan and after that first goal they came at us even harder. They had more pressure on us in the first half than possibly we’ve seen all season.”

But the dominance CVU displayed en route to the program’s 14th crown is tempered ever-so-slightly.

The lone goal the Redhawks allowed this fall — while putting up 72 of their own — was a penalty kick. North Country’s Chelsea Bianchi tucked it away in Newport in the 10th game of the season.

“Just that PK,” Kohlasch said. “It kills me a little bit but I’m getting over it.”

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