MANCHESTER - Just over six minutes into the opening round of the playoffs between the Burr and Burton Academy boys soccer team and the Burlington Seahorses senior midfielder Mohamed Jafar made a move on his defender and headed to goal. As BBA's defenders converged, Jafar fed midfielder Cole Venner whose shot hit off the right post before rolling over the goal line.

As it turned out, the goal by Venner - one of two on the day - was the only one the No. 9 seeded Seahorses (7-6-2) would need to defeat No. 8 seeded BBA (7-7-1) as they went on to win 2-0 at Applejack Field on Tuesday.

"Burlington's a good team and I thought we came back well," said BBA coach Peter Mull. "We pulled out all the stops and just couldn't put any in the back of the net.

Burr and Burton Academy midfielder Liam Kelleher looks to pass the ball upfield during the second half of Tuesday’s first round playoff match against
Burr and Burton Academy midfielder Liam Kelleher looks to pass the ball upfield during the second half of Tuesday's first round playoff match against Burlington. BBA lost the match 2-0. (Brandon Canevari photo)
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Burlington coach Bob Day said after the match that he felt his team had moments where they were a little slow to execute - a problem that eventually was solved, he said.

"Once we started letting the ball do the work we started to control the match."

Day explained that in the beginning his midfielders were taking four or five touches on the ball compared to one or two, which was more preferable in going against Burr and Burton.

"I thought Liam (Kelleher) did a nice job," said Day. "You've got to respect BBA's midfielders."

Burlington dominated possession of the ball until about midway through the first half when the Bulldogs began to apply some pressure and create some scoring opportunities, which they were unable to capitalize on.

WIth about 15 minutes left to go before halftime, Burlington midfielder Elijah Boley lofted a nice ball up the path ahead for freshman forward Seraphin Iradukunda who had a step on his man and seemingly a clear path to the goal. But a BBA came up from behind to kick the ball out of play.

A shot by the Seahorses with a 10:01 left to play before the half provided a scare for the hometown faithful when it hit goalie Adam Maitland's hands and appeared as though it may roll across the goal line before Maitland corralled it.

BBA came out aggressive in the second half, but it wasn't long before Venner was able to add an insurance goal.

Attacking from the right wing, Venner crossed a shot into the side netting for the score to put Burlington on top 2-0 about five minutes after the start of the second half.

"The kid is composed in situations where he's in front of the goal," said Day. "That's what you want from your front runner."

While Mull said that their first goal appeared to have possibly been offsides, he said that Burlington had success turning the corner throughout the game. "Their second goal was a nice goal too; nice turn, nice finish," said Mull.

About four minutes after Venner's second goal, Reid Conde narrowly missed a free kick that was awarded to the Bulldogs. At first Conde's strike looked as though it would connect, but instead it hit the top of the frame and bounced off to the left. BBA rushed in for the rebound shot, but their efforts were thwarted by junior keeper Sandro Pobric who had five saves on the day.

Maitland had six saves on the afternoon.

Burlington will face CVU on Friday.

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