It’s no secret: The Mount Abraham Union High School boys soccer team is motivated from recent playoff misses.
“I think there are a handful of players who have been around since their sophomore years and they know the feeling of getting close and losing,” Mount Abraham coach Mike Corey said. “And they are just determined. It’s a wonderful group of young men that have bonded like almost no team I’ve coached in 30 years.”
After enduring tough semifinal defeats in 2011 and 2012, the top-seeded Eagles (16-1) are poised to secure the program’s second title. No. 3 Green Mountain Valley (9-2-2), however, stands as a worthy opponent.
“Mount Abraham is a terrific team and we have our work cut out for us,” GMVS coach Jere Brophy said. “But our guys can play with anyone right now.”
Game time is 1 p.m. today at Randolph.
Midfielder Cale Thygesen paces the Eagles attack with nine goals and 10 assists. Ethan White (12 goals, two assists), Sawyer Kamman (10 goals, six assists), Rider McCrellish (eight goals) and Theo Weaver (seven goals, four assists) are other key pieces for Mount Abraham, which has outshot its opponents 333 to 107 this season.
Brendan Todd, a dangerous restart player, has 10 of the Gumbies’ 24 goals. The Eagles won both regular-season meetings.
Familiarity reigns between these local schools.
For starters, Stowe’s first-year coach Brian Buczek lives in Morrisville and also coaches his son’s area youth team. And the high school players know each other well from youth and club leagues.
No. 1 Stowe (12-2-3) is chasing a second straight crown and fifth since 2007. No. 10 Peoples (10-7) has reached its fourth final in the same time span. The rivals square off at 1 p.m. at Williamstown.
The Raiders returned more than a dozen players and at least six starters from last year’s championship team. Robert Buonanno (14 goals, 11 assists), Cam Taylor (11 goals, four assists) and Vince Van Patten (10 goals, seven assists) power a Stowe team that only played four D-III teams during the regular season.
That D-III slate includes a 2-0 win over Peoples, the start of a 12-game unbeaten streak for the Raiders.
Justin Tibbetts and goalkeeper Alex Duca (13 saves in the semifinal win) are key players for Peoples, which will be without the services of Tyler Beattie. The senior midfielder drew a second yellow card in the semifinals for a game disqualification and a two-game suspension to follow.
With a schedule loaded with Division II teams, No. 2 Proctor (11-2-4) hadn’t strung together a winning streak longer than two wins until the postseason. Now on a five-game roll, the Phantoms seek the program’s 16th overall title, and third straight.
Proctor’s opponent is top-ranked Twin Valley (16-0), which has outscored opponents 87-1 this season, including 11-0 in two tournament games. Game time is 10 a.m. at Whitcomb. Proctor also defeated Twin Valley in last year’s finals.
Chris Clain, Curtis Tomlinson and Dermot Hughes pace Proctor’s attack. Colin Lozito spearheads Twin Valley’s scoring punch.