Thursday October 30, 2014
Cross-Country- 2014 State Champs
“This team was amazing this weekend! They really stepped up to the plate, and the seniors are leaving behind a legacy of excellence in their wake.” This was South Burlington varsity coach Geoff Bennett’s summation of his team’s unprecedented third straight Vermont State championship victory on a grueling Thetford course this past Saturday, October 25.
“Joey Staples and Sean MacDonald came through huge.” Bennett emphasized. “Had Tyler Marshall (CVU) beaten them, we would have lost. They showed a lot of guts in the final mile of the race. Ben Moran was also clutch as he ended up being our #5 scoring runner as a freshman in his first varsity race.”
In case the Rebels status as a cross-country dynasty was at all in doubt, South Burlington is undefeated against any other Vermont team dating back to 2012. While the team is savoring the championship victory, the Rebel boys are also looking forward to New England Championships in two weeks. The South Burlington girls team will also be sending Meghan Cook and Eliza Thomas to the New England Championships.
South Burlington traveled to Middlebury this past Satuday for their first round playoff matchup, hoping to bounce back against the same Tiger team that handed them a 3-0 loss in their final regular season matchup one week ago. Ultimately, the Rebels came up short, falling to the Tigers 3-2 in overtime in a loss that coach Anjie Soucy could only term as “a heartbreaker.” Middlebury took an early 1-0 lead, but South Burlington tied the game on goal from Madi Grabowski. Grabowski has played defense for the majority of the season, but was strategically moved to the offensive end of the field for the contest and the move paid off for South Burlington in the first half.
The Rebels and the Tigers went into halftime with the game knotted at 1-1, and the two teams battled aggressively through the second half, with neither team taking the upper hand. With ten minutes remaining in the final period, South Burlington freshman Joan Vera fired a goal past the Middlebury keeper. However, the Tigers pushed the ball hard and managed to tie the game on a penalty corner as time expired in regulation. The Tigers capitalized on a second penalty corner in overtime to sink the Rebels and claim a first round playoff victory. “In overtime, both teams had opportunities,” said Soucy. “It was a great game and clearly an opportunity for our younger and returning players to learn and grow from. However, the four Division 1 teams that are left in the playoffs are the teams that have the oldest and most veteran core of players.” With the loss, the Rebels wrap up their season with an 8-6 record.
The South Burlington girls wrapped up their season with a 4-0 loss to Burr & Burton in last Tuesday’s play down matchup. The Rebels wrap up their season with 2-11-1 record.
The South Burlington boys team dominated both their matchups from last week. The Rebels routed Middlebury 6-0 in the playdown matchup on Wednesday, Oct.22, before upending St. Johnsbury 3-1 in their quarterfinal on Saturday, Oct. 25. The Rebels are 14-1 with those two big wins and move onto the semi-finals, where they’ll face either CVU or Hartford on Wednesday, after press deadline.
Quarterback Thomas Demag saved his best game of the season for Saturday’s season ending matchup against Brattelboro. While it’s been tough sledding for the Rebels this season, they went out on a high note, defeating the Colonels 57-28. Demag threw for four touchdowns in the game, while teammate and reliable receiving target Cam Nolting threw for two touchdowns of his own. Jake Labelle and Colby Barrett hauled in two touchdown scores apiece, while Sam Paulino, Jake Labelle, Dylan Avery, and Preston Grippo found the end zone to help South Burlington upend Brattelboro. The Rebels wrap up their season with a 2-7 record.
SOURCE: Peter Culkin, Correspondent