We have a new No. 1.
After four weeks in the first slot of the Varsity Insider boys soccer power rankings, Champlain Valley’s first loss of 2015 yields a change at the top.
Defending Division I champion South Burlington, fresh off its thrilling win over the Redhawks, assumes top billing as the regular season hits the final week.
(Through games played 10/10)
1. South Burlington (10-2): Despite losing many standouts to graduation and getting hit by an injury bug at key positions recently, the Rebels have posted four straight shutouts, the highlight, of course, being a memorable finish against CVU. Simply put, the Rebels, with more than half their starting lineup made up of freshmen or sophomores, reloaded this fall.Last week: 4
2. Champlain Valley (11-1): How did the Redhawks respond to their first loss? By producing their own late magic. Todd Boisjoli, on Cooper O’Connell’s well-paced through ball, scored a breakaway goal against host Essex in overtime, CVU’s second 1-0 extra-session triumph over their longtime rival. Last week: 1
3. Essex (9-3): The Hornets’ seven-game winning streak might be over. They have yet to score against CVU in two games. But Jake Orr called Saturday’s loss the “best game of the year” for his team. Essex was brilliant, at times, connecting through the midfield, a good sign entering postseason. Last week: 2
4. Rice (10-2): The Green Knights, on an eight-game winning streak, have dominated their Lake Division opponents. Will that translate into postseason success in the Division I tournament?Last week: 3
5. Burlington (10-2): The Seahorses needed a second-half equalizer and Seraphin Iradukunda’s overtime strike to outlast one-win North Country at home before blanking Spaulding on the road. Last week: 5
6. Colchester (7-4-1): Chris Zamarripa’s two-goal, one-assist effort sparked the Lakers’ best scoring output of the season, a 5-1 win over North Country on Saturday. Last week: 6
7. St. Johnsbury (9-3): A 3-2 win over BFA-St. Albans pushed SJA’s winning streak to three games. But that roll was halted by the home loss to South Burlington.Last week: 7
8. BFA-St. Albans (8-4): Colchester, Burlington, CVU and St. Johnsbury have each handed the Bobwhites’ losses, keeping the Franklin County school on the outside of contention. Last week: 8
POWER RANKINGS ARCHIVE
9. Harwood (6-1-2): A tie with U-32 pushes Harwood’s unbeaten streak to eight games. The Highlanders have yet to yield a goal at home and have surrendered just four all season. Last week: Bubble.
10. Mount Anthony (9-3): A 1-0 loss to Burr and Burton puts the Patriots in a dogfight for a home playoff game in the jam-packed D-I landscape. Last week: 9
Bubble: Burr and Burton (6-5), Lake Region (12-0), Montpelier (7-2-1), Rutland (6-4-1), Stowe (8-4), Twin Valley (10-1), U-32 (6-4-1), Woodstock (10-2)
TOP PERFORMERS FROM WEEK 5
Kieran Bhave, Mount Mansfield: Tallied two goals and five assists in the home win over Missisquoi.
Todd Boisjoli, Joe Parento, Champlain Valley: Back from injury, Boisjoli tallied his second game-winning, overtime goal against Essex this season. Parento, meanwhile, was a high-flying, ball-tracking defender who saved the game for CVU in the second half with a goal-line clearance.
Esteban Garcia Guiance, Harwood: The Highlander goalie stopped a penalty kick in overtime to preserve his team’s 1-1 tie
Charlie Meyer, Mount Abraham: Scored two eventual game-winners in the Eagles’ 3-0 week.
Patrick O’Hara, South Burlington: Knocked in the late winner to end CVU’s unbeaten start and provided the insurance against St. Johnsbury on the road, a header off a corner kick.
GAMES TO WATCH IN WEEK 6
BFA-Fairfax (5-3-2) at Lake Region (12-0), 4 p.m. Tuesday: The Rangers, the state’s last unbeaten team, plays just their second game against a same-division opponent, taking on Fairfax (D-II).
Champlain Valley (11-2) at Burlington (10-2), 7 p.m. Tuesday: A late-season night game at Buck Hard Field should be a nice primer for the start of next week’s playoffs.
BFA-St. Albans (8-4) at Essex (9-3), 4 p.m. Friday: Like the CVU-BHS match, this has crucial VPA index points at stake in the jostling for higher seeds.