H.S boys soccer: Defending champs aim for more hardware

H.S boys soccer: Defending champs aim for more hardware


H.S boys soccer: Defending champs aim for more hardware


In three of the four divisions, defending champions seek repeat crowns. There’s Champlain Valley in Division I, Stowe in D-III and Proctor in D-IV.

Last year’s D-II champion, Burr and Burton, joined D-I in the offseason.

If CVU, Stowe and Proctor can win it all again, they would have navigated through a mine field of worthy opponents.

Here’s a quick look at the four divisions:

Division I

* The teams: Champlain Valley‘s run to the title last year was built on a strong midfield and defense and the scoring prowess of Shane Haley, who tucked away 25 goals, including the overtime winner in the finals. This fall, the Redhawks’ defense is once again stingy — they have allowed just five goals and just one since the calendar turned to October — but scoring has taken a balanced approach.

Joe Castano and Richard Baccei pace CVU with seven goals apiece, and 12 others have tallied at least one of the 47 goals. …

Switches in personnel led Colchester its most regular-season wins in 11 years. Tucker Jean, Brett Nelson, Matt Brien and Matt Goudie will look to lead the Lakers to their first title in 25 years and their first final since 1999, a proposition with better odds after beating Mount Mansfield in the regular-season finale to snare the No. 2 seed. …

St. Johnsbury handed the Redhawks their only loss, but went 1-2-1 against MMU, Essex, Colchester and Burlington. Hartford has an early season win over Burlington and boasts a nine-game winning streak where it has struck for 28 goals and allowed just six. …

Mount Mansfield has overcome injuries to post a second straight 10-win season. The Cougars’ attack — they scored at least four goals five times this season — might be their key to a deep postseason run, one that likely would include a quarterfinal showdown at St. Johnsbury. …

The playdown winner between South Burlington-Essex should be viewed as a sleeper,probably getting a shot at Colchester in Round 2.

Division II

* The teams: It’s been nearly a decade since Mount Abraham broke through for its first outright title. And after back-to-back semifinal defeats the past two seasons, the Eagles are poised for title No. 2. Cale Thygesen leads a strong Eagles side that has scored at least five goals in five games this season. The only blemish for Eagles came in the regular-season finale, a 1-0 defeat at Rice, which employed a man-marking strategy on Thygesen. …

Green Mountain Valley‘s only two losses were to Mount Abraham but wins over Montpelier and Harwood served notice the Gumbies are legimiate contenders. …

Speaking of the Capital Division rivals, Harwood and Montpelier are also in the mix. The Highlanders return to D-II after a stay in D-I. And after a slow start due to an injury to Teagan Drake, the Highlanders have put things together and finished on a four-game winning streak. The Solons, with forward T.J. Dellipriscoli, have the No. 2 seed but have only two wins against teams with winning records. …

Rice Memorial pitched eight shutouts this season and loaded its schedule early with Division I opponents. Milton has turned things around with a five-game winning streak to close the season and might prove a difficult matchup for Mount Abraham in the quarterfinals.

Division III

* The teams: Unbeaten in nine games since almost topping St. Johnsbury, Stowe appears locked in on a repeat and the program’s fifth crown since 2007. Playing only four D-III schools, the Raiders pitched seven shutouts and tallied 33 goals. … BFA-Fairfax, Lake Region and Rivendell each own long unbeaten streaks. …

One sleeper is Randolph, which earned its first winning season since 1998 and worked a scoreless draw with Stowe.

Division IV

* The teams: The numbers are staggering for Twin Valley, outscoring opponents 76-1. Twin Valley allowed its only goal to Stratton in a regular-season schedule that only saw one game against a D-IV opponent. …

A team with an even tougher slate of opponents was Proctor, with seven games against D-II teams and one against D-I (a win over Brattleboro). The Phantoms are aiming for a three-peat. Cabot, Sharon and Danville are in the mix, too.


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