CVU avenges loss with fifth straight title

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BURLINGTON >> The Burr and Burton Academy girls soccer team knew the task it had in front of it.

Yes, they'd already beaten Champlain Valley this season to break the Redhawks' 48-game winning streak. But doing it again would be a challenge.

The Bulldogs rose to the challenge but came up one goal short, falling 2-1 to CVU on Saturday at Buck Hard Field in Burlington.

The championship was the fifth in a row for the Redhawks.

"We gave it all we had. We had lots of chances, couldn't put them away," said sophomore Georgia Lord. "CVU played amazingly, the defense is solid."

CVU took an early lead in the 15th minute as the Redhawks' leading scorer, Megan Gannon, snagged a goal kick from the BBA keeper about 25 yards away from the Bulldog net. Gannon took one touch and before the BBA defense could arrive to body it up, Gannon fired it perfectly, top-shelf, to give her team the 1-0 advantage.

In the 28th minute, CVU doubled its lead on a beautiful tally. Lia Gagliuso lifted a free kick to the far post and Catherine Cazayoux was there with a header to clean it up for a 2-0 lead.

"Those were gorgeous strikes," said CVU coach Stan Williams. "This is incredible [to win five straight], it's a tribut to the team and the seniors, five in a row says so much about the program. It's a unique situation to face the teams that beat you [BBA and Colchester] in the semifinal and final. I'm thrilled the girls were able to do this."

Lord said BBA didn't play its game in the first half.

"I think we were getting frantic and scared, we've never been here before," Lord said. "In the second half we started playing our game. Coach [Suzanne Mears] said, 'I believe in you, I believe in this team."

Mears, in her second year as BBA coach, said she was trying to motivate just as much as coaching any X's and O's.

"Down 2-0 is tough, I told them to keep their heads high, dig deep, don't give them an inch," Mears said. "They were a step ahead of us in the first half, but no excuses, that how the cards fell. They came out, strong, tough and quick, it took a long time to adjust to it."

BBA cut the lead in half in the 49th minute. CVU was called for a handball in the box, setting up a penalty shot. Bella Dworkin took it and promptly buried it into the corner of the net to make it 2-1.

"She nailed it as I knew she would and it fired us up," Mears said. "We put the pressure on."

Williams said he liked the response from his Redhawks after the call.

"We maintained our composure. We knew that they would start to come back, so we stayed aggressive because our best defense was to get another goal," Williams said.

In the final five minutes, BBA had a pair of corner kicks back-to-back. The CVU goalie, Michaela Flore, made the play on each, grabbing them out of the air and out of harm's way.

"She's been tremendous, especially in the semifinal and final," Williams said.

BBA finishes the season at 18-1 and have gone 32-2 in the past two seasons.

"I don't want my girls to forget how we got here, that's what it's all about, the fact we are here is an accomplishment," Mears said. "I'm so proud of them making some history. We have a lot of work to do, we have to keep plugging away, we're not stopping here. This is just the beginning for us."

"If I wasn't playing against them, I'd love watching [BBA]," Williams said. "I'm sure we'll see them more in the future."


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