MANCHESTER — Ahead of Saturday’s Division I boys lacrosse state championship game against CVU, Burr and Burton is drowning out the noise as they pursue a state title.
“It’s really just staying true to ourselves and not changing up,” Nicky Miceli said. “We think that when we play our game we have a solid chance to beat any team in the state, so it’s just playing our game and not getting distracted by anything else.”
The Bulldogs have good reason to believe that, finishing the regular season 12-3. Two of those losses came against South Burlington and Woodstock, who BBA just bounced from the playoffs in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, respectively.
BBA is looking to win its first title in boys lacrosse since claiming the Division II crown back in 2015.
Bulldogs goalie Jack Morrison thinks being battle-tested so far in the playoffs will help BBA come Saturday.
“I’d say the two games we’ve just played definitely helped build our confidence for this big matchup against CVU, and we feel that it definitely helps to have a harder path,” Morrison said. “ I think we’re prepared mentally and physically after these tough games.”
CVU is seeking a record-setting eighth straight championship. BBA and CVU faced off in the 2019 Division I championship game with the Redhawks eeking out a 15-13 win at the University of Vermont.
The Bulldogs semifinal matchup against Woodstock showed just how competitive and mentally tough BBA is. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 5-1 lead early before Woodstock went on a run of its own and took the lead. The Bulldogs weren’t flustered, eventually tying the game at 8-8 by the end of regulation. Then it was freshman Peyton Gray who delivered the final blow, firing one into Woodstock’s net and sending the Bulldogs to the final.
BBA coach Tom Grabher was pleased with the way his team responded after falling behind to what he called an “outstanding” Woodstock team.
“That shows a lot of character. And a lot of grit, and I’m glad that they were able to show what they have inside them,” Grabher said.
Going into the 2021 season, Grabher had two areas of focus for his Bulldogs.
“It’s constant improvement, constant working, not being satisfied,” Grabher said. “The other thing was we wanted to be in the conversation of being (one of) the top teams in the state. I feel we’re in that conversation and the conversation hasn’t ended yet.”
BBA is more than just in the conversation, they have the opportunity to prove they’re the class of Division I on Saturday. The amount of weapons BBA has, on both sides of the field, is a big reason why they are just one of two teams remaining in Division I.
“I think it’s a combination of the hard work and the teamwork that has got us here,” Grabher said. “We’re really happy and proud that we have made it this far. This in itself is an achievement to be there.”
The Bulldogs are preparing for Saturday’s game just like every other game this season.
“It’s just another game for us. We want to come out there and just play our game and we want to have everyone doing their role,” said captain Matt Grabher.
That extends beyond just the players on the field for BBA.
“Like our bench going crazy, like they have for the last few games which helps us on the field,” Matt Grabher said.
The BBA midfielder knows the Bulldogs are at their best when they play cohesively as one unit rather than worrying about individual performance.
“That’s what we’ve been stressing,” said the junior. “If we play as a team then we’ll come out with the win.”
No. 3 BBA (12-3) and No. 1 CVU (14-1) will battle it out at Burlington High School Saturday at 1 p.m. with a state championship at stake.