A couple days late on updating the Varsity Insider boys soccer power rankings, but on the positive side I’m counting games played through the weekend.
In this week’s rundown, Essex made the leap to No. 2, Stowe squeezed into the top 10 and CVU is No. 1 for the fourth straight week.
(Through games played 10/3)
1. Champlain Valley (10-0): A balanced approach on offense and rock-solid defense on the back line continues for the Redhawks, who outscored North Country, St. Johnsbury and BFA-St. Albans by a 12-1 margin in a 3-0 week. Last week: 1
2. Essex (8-2): Two weeks ago, the Hornets showed some mental toughness in grabbing three one-goal victories. And last week? Essex was even more convincing, blanking red-hot South Burlington and Colchester by 2-0 and 3-0 decisions, respectively, before a 4-1 triumph over North Country. Last week: 4
3. Rice (6-2): Needing overtime, the Green Knights outlasted Division II Milton to extend their winning streak to four games. And although Rice has the head-to-head win over Essex (from Sept. 5), the Hornets’ resume of late is simply better in earning the No. 2 slot this week. Last week: 3
4. South Burlington (8-2): The Rebels bounced back from their 2-0 home loss to Essex with a pair of shutout victories, their first consecutive clean sheets in a month. Last week: 2
5. Burlington (8-2): Since back-to-back losses to South Burlington and Essex, the Seahorses have posted three straight wins, including Friday’s 3-1 decision over Colchester. Last week: 5
BOYS SOCCER POWER RANKINGS ARCHIVE
6. Colchester (5-4-1): The Lakers handed St. Johnsbury its first loss but then dropped games to Essex and Burlington. Last week: 6
7. St. Johnsbury (8-2): After the 1-0 loss to Colchester, the Hilltoppers fell to CVU 2-1 in a downpour and then picked up two victories to begin another winning streak. Last week: 9
8. BFA-St. Albans (7-3): Losers of three of their last five games, the Bobwhites close out the regular season with a challenging slate: St. Johnsbury, MMU, South Burlington and Essex. Last week: 7
9. Mount Anthony (7-2): After a perfect September — seven wins and five shutouts — the Patriots began October play with a 1-0 loss to Rutland. Last week: 8
10. Stowe (6-3): After one-goal defeats to Burlington, St. Johnsbury and CVU to start the season, the defending Division III champion Raiders have won six straight games, half of those in shutout efforts, to vault into the rankings for the first time this season. Last week: Bubble.
Bubble: Rutland (5-4), Lake Region (10-0), Twin Valley (7-1), Woodstock (9-2), U-32 (6-4), Harwood (4-1-1)
TOP PERFORMERS FROM WEEK 4
Seamus Beall, U-32: Scored twice in less than seven minutes in the 2-0 win over rival Montpelier.
Evan McNall, BFA-Fairfax: McNall had the game-tying goal in the final minute of regulation in the overtime loss to Enosburg and then had another late equalizer — a header off a free kick with 15 seconds to go — to help Fairfax earn a tie at Hazen.
Simon Kammer, St. Johnsbury: Put up four goals in two games, including a hat trick against Brattleboro.
Chad Haggerty, Stowe: A five-goal outburst in two games helped the Raiders topple Peoples (6-1) and Nothfield (5-3).
Matt Lyon, Essex: The Hornets spread out the scoring last week, and Lyon had two of those goals, each on restarts, including this one:
GAMES TO WATCH IN WEEK 5
Champlain Valley (10-0) at South Burlington (8-2), 7 p.m. Wednesday: The Redhawks carry their unbeaten streak to South Burlington, site of two heartbreaking losses in 2014 — in the regular season and then later in the semifinals — that should provide a healthy dose of motivation.
Harwood (4-1-1) at U-32 (6-4), 11 a.m. Saturday: The Highlanders, on the low side of games played compared to the rest of the state, have allowed just three goals. Their toughest challenge, though, arrives with a date against the Raiders in East Montpelier.
Champlain Valley (10-0) at Essex (8-2), 11 a.m. Saturday: Since the 1-0 overtime loss to CVU on Sept. 9, the Hornets have won six straight.