Mid-game surge propels Burlington past BBA
MANCHESTER — A simple word like 'yes' can mean so much to bring something to life.
Students at Burr and Burton Academy, and other schools across the state, said yes to bringing Ultimate to life in Vermont and Tuesday's Division I state semifinal between BBA and Burlington was a perfect example that they made the right decision.
In a competitive, back and forth contest, the Seahorses edged the Bulldogs 11-9 to earn a spot in the D-I state title game on Thursday.
Even in the losing effort, BBA coach Tom Von Allmen could not have been proud of his guys for their effort to bring the sport to the school.
"The guys on our team and guys all across the state and the girls across the state, it takes people that will say yes to a new sport to make this happen," Von Allmen said. "I'm proud of this team because in the first practice, we had almost 20 brand new players. Without people saying yes, we don't have a team. I'm proud for how quickly they picked up the game."
Burlington has faced some of the best competition in the state, playing in the Metro part of the state, but it seemed like the Bulldogs caught them a bit off guard in the early portion of Tuesday's game.
After a few minutes of scoreless play, BBA broke through and Aidan Vogel caught the disc in the endzone to put the Bulldogs up a score.
Quickly, Aiden Francomb caught another score, and a few minutes later, Devin Deets made the score 3-0 BBA.
"The teams up north play each other a lot and teams up north haven't played us a lot. We came out hot," Von Allmen said. "We were able to surprise them on the first few points."
About 19 minutes in, Davis Rock-Jones scored a point for the Seahorses to get his team on board and captain Nick Boisvert scored another goal tallied another soon after.
BBA settled in well after the retaliating goals and eventually took a 7-3 lead on the brink of forcing the halftime break at eight goals.
Von Allmen preached to his team to keep fighting to get to the break during a timeout, but Burlington locked in quickly following the stoppage.
The Seahorses upped the pressure in the zone they were running and BBA struggled to break through offensively.
When Burlington had the disc, they made the Bulldogs pay.
Ryan Murray scored a point to cut the BBA lead to three and Declan Kervick added another to inch closer.
In short order, Burlington knotted the score 7-7 and a score with about 21 minutes to play forced the halftime break.
The Bulldogs needed to find a way to break the Seahorses' zone or their season was over.
"They were running a 4-man cup [zone] and we hadn't seen that before and they took five straight points to take half," Von Allmen said.
BBA finally found a way to break the zone out of the halftime break to tie the game 8-8. Francomb hauled in the tying score and he was all over the field Tuesday with all-out effort. Francomb and Deets led Bulldogs with three points apiece.
"It was about finding the gaps in the zone. With swings, it starts to spread out. I think that's the nature of a 4-man cup," Von Allmen said. "Our offense is always run through our handlers. They are probably our three best players. Having confidence in them to break that zone was big for us. We had to run against what we normally would in a zone and be more aggressive. They did that and stepped up."
Burlington responded well after the tying goal and scored two more goals with four minutes left to play before the 90-minute time limit ran out.
Deets scored the final BBA goal, but it would be too little, too late for the Bulldogs.
BBA finishes its first varsity season at 12-2.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at email@example.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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