Thursday June 04, 2015
It might come as a surprise to some, but “the non-traditional sport of ultimate Frisbee” as described by head coach Eric Stone has been part of the South Burlington sports roster for eight years. The Rebel coach was able to explain a little about South Burlington’s ultimate program, and why it’s caught on so well at the high school level. “I think the response to ultimate has been great!” said Coach Stone “It’s certainly non-traditional, but for some that’s the appeal. In no other sport do players work out fouls and calls themselves, as we have no referees. Also, it’s the only VPA sport that I know of that’s co-ed. We try to have as much fun as we can. I think the kids want to win to represent themselves, their school, and their sport to the best of their ability. But in the end, if it isn’t fun, then we’re making a mistake.” While the program has been around for eight years, it’s been in the last three years that South Burlington’s ultimate team has been granted varsity status. And it’s not just the Rebels that are taking up the Frisbee- South Burlington was one of four or five competing teams just a few years ago; now the number is closer to eighteen/nineteen schools in competition. With the growth of the sport, the Rebels have also seen their own numbers grow. At one point in time, South Burlington had just seven athletes on its roster. Now there are thirty-four Rebels on the ultimate roster, with so much interest that the program had to be split into Varsity and JV squads. “The season has been one of ups and downs, like any sport.” Stone continued “The one thing I can say is that each and every player has improved immeasurably. Next year I look forward to fielding a team that is more than likely going to consist of almost all students who have played the sport before. That will be a big development for us, as less coaching time will have to be spent on explaining fundamentals like forehand and backhand- most players will know the basics going in, and we can only improve from there.”
The Rebels came up on the short end of last Tuesday’s rematch of the 2014 D1 Championship against Rice, falling to the Green Knights 3-1. The defending champion Knights had only one loss on the season going into the matchup and Rice’s Will Hesslink delivered a championship-caliber pitching performance, going the distance for his team and striking out eleven batters, while giving up just three hits. Connor Bradley pitched a solid game of his own, striking out seven while giving up just four hits. Three of those hits went to Rice’s Sean Remillard, whose performance at the plate lifted the Green Knights to their fourteenth win of the season.
The Rebels tamed the Tigers 7-0 this past Friday in South Burlington’s final game of the regular season. In front of a home crowd, Patrick McMackin drove in three runs for his team, while Brendan Lahue went 2-3 at the plate and contributed a pair of RBI’s. Eddie Hockenbury earned the win for the Rebels, working six innings from the pitcher’s mound and striking out four. Hockenbury also contributed a double in the victory. The Rebels enter the playoffs with a muscular 12-4 record.
The South Burlington girls refused to quit and orchestrated an extra-innings victory over Rice, as the Rebels defeated the Green Knights 8-6 in ten innings. Zelie Condon-Layman delivered the two-run single in the top of the tenth. She also preserved the game for the Rebels in the eighth inning with a precision throw that put out a potential scoring runner for the Green Knights. Becky Borazzo pitched aggressively from the mound, pitching for the full ten innings. Morgan Eppley also played an integral role in South Burlington’s comeback, laying down a squeeze bunt in the ninth inning to score a runner. Rice would score a run of their own in the bottom of the ninth, before Condon-Layman’s walk-off heroics clinched the game for South Burlington and earned the Rebels their fourth win of the season.
The Rebels wrapped up their regular season with two solid road wins against Middlebury and CVU. South Burlington edged out Middlebury 10-7 last Wednesday 5/27, lifted by a four goal performance from reliable midfielder Casey Johnson. Ava Hultgren continued to be productive around the net, adding three goals and an assist, while teammates Willow Yager and Kimmy Norris added a goal apiece. Danielle Boucher made eleven saves in goal for the Rebels to preserve the win.
Not satisfied with her performance against the Tigers, Casey Johson delivered a career defining game in South Burlington’s 13-7 victory over CVU last Saturday, 5/30. Johnson torched the Redhawks for eight scores and added an assist, while Ava Hultgren added three goals and two assists. Joan Vera had a goal and an assist, while Kimmy Norris contributed a goal and three assists. Danielle Boucher made eight saves in the contest. “The team’s defense has really solidified.” said South Burlington coach Anjie Soucy. “Our transition and offensive prowess have also really come together of late. There is a tremendous excitement among our team and a very positive outlook as we head into the playoffs. There has been a great blend of veteran and new players coming together over the course of the season and, at this point, the Rebels have all their systems in place.”
The Rebels traveled to Essex last Tuesday, 5/26 and doubled up on the Hornets to the tune of a 14-7 victory. Cam Nolting and Kyle Murukami each added three goals and three assists in the game. Dylan Avery and Max Capano were also in the hat-trick club with three goals apiece, with Avery contributing a pair of assists. Mike Blauvelt made fourteen saves to preserve the win against the 9-4 Hornets.
South Burlington cruised to another victory in a 21-1 romp over visiting Spaulding this past Friday 5/29. Cam Nolting and Dylan Avery led the Rebels in scoring, netting four goals apiece. Kyle Murukami added three goals in the victory. Mike Blauvelt and Bobby Cole split time in the net for South Burlington and combined for five saves to shut down the Crimson Tide. The home field victory was South Burlington’s final matchup of the regular season and the Rebels head into the playoffs with a 12-3 record.
Both the boy’s and girl’s teams competed in the Essex Invitational this past Saturday. With the Rebels in attendance and firing on all cylinders in their final meet of the regular season, it was no surprise to anyone that it was an afternoon of new personal records (PR) and record setting performances. Kayla Gilding established a new meet record in the 400m (besting the record time that she had established previously), and also led the Rebels to victory with a 1st place finish in the long jump. Olivia Dickinson set a PR in the 100m and the triple jump and was also part of the fourth place finishing 4x100 team that included teammates Jessica Bealieu, Emily Kollar, and Chloe Zinn.
South Burlington’s Phil Lyon was named Boy’s Field Athlete of the Meet, winning the shot put event with a PR distance of 46-01, and taking a fourth place finish in discus. Caleb Kasupski was victorious for the Rebels in the long jump, while the team of James Gregoire, Joey Staples, Brandon Moran, and Sean MacDonald finished 1st in the 4x800. The team is preparing for next Saturday’s State Championship meet, held at Burlington. “Our senior leaders and captains, Sean MacDonald, Matt Royer, and James Gregoire are doing a great job keeping our team focused and ready.” said South Burlington coach Geoff Bennett.
The Rebels wrapped up what coach Ryan Navin called “a wonderful week and an outstanding regular season” by sweeping the Division 1 Northern Sectional Qualifier, held at Rocky Ridge, and The NVAC Metro Championship, held at Williston.
Seniors Noah Beatty and Evan Geremia led the team in the Northern Sectional Qualifier, tying for the lead with matching 78’s. Chase Sharp followed with an 81, while Devon Havers rounded out the top four scoring Rebels with an 82. The Rebels finished a full eight shots ahead of second place finishing North Country.
Evan Geremia shot a season low 74 on Thursday’s NVAC championship, helping the Rebels combined for a match-winning 318 team score. Geremia was followed by teammates Sharp (79), Havers (81), and Beatty (84). The team advances to the state championship, held at Green Mountain National on Thursday, 6/4.
SOURCE: Peter Caulkin, Correspondent