BBA falls to CVU in D-I state title game
Whether it was not having a letdown after winning a state title in 2016 or winning an intense rematch with Colchester in the state semifinals, among many other things, BBA has passed every test with flying colors.
The one obstacle that they haven't been able to topple has been perennial power Champlain Valley Union. CVU topped them earlier in the season 3-1 and they were the team that beat the Bulldogs in the 2015 state championship.
Saturday afternoon, BBA had a chance to avenge those losses and though they came out with a great effort, it wasn't enough as Redhawks sophomore forward Charlotte Hill scored a goal in the 65th minute. That would be all CVU would need in a 1-0 victory over the Bulldogs to win the state title.
The undefeated Redhawks have been known for their high-powered offense throughout the season, scoring more than five goals in a game on eight different occasions. BBA knew they would have to keep the offense in check if they wanted any chance to repeat as state champions and for the most part, the Bulldogs did that.
CVU controlled the ball for a large majority of the game, so the BBA defense and senior goalkeeper Samantha Citron were put to the test throughout.
Bulldogs coach Suzanne Mears was obviously disappointed the Redhawks scored the lone goal, but she was happy with the defensive effort her team showed.
"CVU is a great team and they came out and came after us," Mears said. "I"m proud of my girls for defending the way they did and keeping it together."
Coming into the game, BBA had shut out its four previous opponents and was riding an 11-game win streak.
CVU coach Stan Williams made it clear that attacking hard offensively was the plan for the Redhawks coming in.
"We hoped to be able to control the play, but we also know that Burr and Burton is probably the most explosive counter-attack team there is in the state," Williams said. "We did a great job, especially as the game went on, of controlling the midfield and creating a lot of opportunities."
For CVU, Saturday's result adds to a historic run of dominance for the Redhawks. CVU has won six of the last seven Division I state championships, with the Bulldogs winning the other year during that stretch. This win gave them their 17th state title in program history.
The Redhawk players understand the legacy they are a part of and expectation on them to succeed.
"So many of the old players send messages or come back and these guys know their story and the (former players) will know (the current players) stories, so it's great," Williams said. "This team has a weird symmetry to it with six seniors and six freshmen. To send these seniors off with a win, I couldn't ask any better."
Getting back to the state championship game after making it the year before is a very hard thing to do and both of these teams know that. For the Bulldogs, this was their third straight trip up to Burlington and Mears, who is 63-7, a 90 percent winning percentage as the BBA coach, was so proud of the resiliency her girls showed all season.
"I do have pride. From where we started to where we are now, it's pretty unbelievable," Mears said. "The fact that we've made it here and that we came back and played with heart today, I am really proud of them."
Adam Aucoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
in four seasons, mears is 63-7, a 90 percent winning percentage.
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