Best of the decade: Arlington, BBA champions in 2010s
Ed. note: This is the third installment of our "Best Teams of the Decade" series and today we look at boys soccer. We will finish the fall series on Wednesday with field hockey. Teams are listed in reverse chronological order.
By Banner Sports
After winning the team's first state championship in 23 years the season before, Arlington nearly made the drought a much shorter one in 2019.
The Eagles went 13-4-1 and made it to the Division IV final again, but fell to a stout Twin Valley squad in the title game.
They reached the John James final, Mount Anthony's annual tournament, for the first time in almost 20 years by topping the host Patriots in the opening round. They also finished second at the John Werner tournament, losing to the Wildcats in penalty kicks.
Led by brothers Lewis and Dominic Whalen, who combined to score 35 goals, and exchange student Alberto Lopez's 16 tallies, along with a strong defense, Arlington nearly gave Todd Wilkins his second title as a coach.
The 2018 Eagles broke a 23-year championship drought in style, beating West Rutland 1-0 in overtime to grab the Division IV crown.
Lewis Whalen, who led the team with 10 goals, scored the biggest goal of his life in OT in the title game on a muddy field at Bellows Falls to send the Arlington faithful home happy.
Matt Ritchie added eight goals that season for the Eagles, who went 11-6.
The defense was up to the task when the games mattered most, not allowing a single tally in any of the three games. Overall the defense, with Jack Lane and Kolby Wilkins, they had eight shutouts on the year.
It capped off a bittersweet year for Arlington, as legendary coach John Werner passed away in March.
2017 Long Trail
The 2017 season was a banner one for the Long Trail boys, who reached their first Division IV final in program history. Led by Will McCullough's 28 goals, one of the top totals in the area, the Mountain Lions shut out both Chelsea and Cabot before edging South Royalton 2-1 in the semifinal.
In the final against Rivendell, Long Trail allowed an early goal, but couldn't figure out Raptors goalie Dash Fukushima.
Led by coach Tim Smith, the Mountain Lions finished 14-3-1, its best record in the short history of boys soccer.
Cambridge has had an up-and-down history with boys soccer, including a year early in the decade where they only had a JV team. But things started to turn around and by 2017, the Indians reached the Section II, Class C semifinals.
Cambridge trailed Berlin by three goals in the semifinal before almost completing a full comeback.
Led by leading goal scorer Ian Montgomery's 10 goals, along with Austin Hackman and Patrick Robertson, Cambridge went 10-5-1 on the year.
In the regular season, the 2015 Arlington boys had one of the worst seasons in Coach Todd Wilkins' decade-plus leading the Eagles, finishing 5-8-1.
But when the bright lights came on at playoff time, Arlington upset three teams all on the road.
They started off with a win over South Royalton, then crushed Craftsbury 4-0. They edged West Rutland in the semifinal, 2-1, and became the first team to make the Division IV final as a No. 9 seed.
Against Proctor in the final, Arlington gave the Phantoms all it could handle and more before falling on penalty kicks.
Arlington was led by leading scorer Colin Lawler, a transfer from Georgia, along with Jared Lacoste, goalie Bailey Cross and Lucas Stroffoleno.
2015 Mount Anthony
Mount Anthony continued its strong run of seasons in 2015, making its second straight trip to the Division I semifinals.
MAU (12-4-1) came into the playoffs as the No. 5 seed and came back to beat Middlebury in a playdown game, after falling down by a pair of goals.
The Patriots had another nail-biter in the quarterfinals and had a pair of players step up huge to keep them alive.
In overtime, Burlington's Seranphin Iradukunda stepped up to take a corner kick for Burlington and his low shot was palmed away by MAU keeper Hunter Davis.
In double overtime, Jack Peterson sent a cross into the box from 30-yards out and Carter Bentley got a head on it for the winning goal.
The Patriots ran into a buzzsaw in No. 1 CVU in the semifinals, but it capped off the most successful run of the Mike Molloy era for MAU.
2014 Mount Anthony
Mount Anthony went through the first decade of the new millennium without a playoff win.
In the fifth season of the 2010s, MAU was still searching for that elusive victory.
The Patriots finally got it done in 2014 when MAU, who ended up 13-3-1 on the year, was the No. 2 seed in the Division I tournament.
Jacob Ranzona and Brad Anair scored for the Patriots in their playdown game and got the proverbial monkey off of MAU's back.
MAU had a dominating performance in the quarterfinals against Mount Mansfield, before meeting its match in the state semifinals against Essex.
After engineering the best season for the Patriots since 1999, MAU coach Mike Molloy was named as the Vermont Soccer Coaches Association Large School coach of the year.
Anair led the team with 15 goals from his defensive spot, while Marcus LaFlamme scored 12 times.
2012 Hoosick Falls
In a season where all four of the fall teams — boys soccer, girls soccer, field hockey and football — all reached the state playoffs, the biggest surprise might have been from the boys soccer squad.
They played strong defense all year and then in the playoffs, they won five straight game by a single goal, including the Class C championship over Maple Hill and both games in the regional round against Lake Placid and Canton.
In the state semifinal, Section IV's Lansing, who had gone unbeaten that season and only allowed one goal all year, scored early and held off the Panthers in a 1-0 victory of its own.
Noah Chani led the way in goal, helping the team to nine shutouts on the year. Tyler Carr and Chris Lacroix and Taylor Baker patrolled the front line and midfield.
To this day, the 2012 season is the best in program history at 17-6 and helped Hoosick Falls earn the nickname "Titletown."
2012 Burr and Burton
In 2012, the BBA boys made it through the Division II slate undefeated at 14-0, after winning the state championship the year before.
Some of the key parts to the 2011 title graduated, but using a strong youth core, BBA made it back to the title game.
In the playoffs, they crushed Fair Haven before eking out overtime victories against Springfield in the quarterfinal, Reid Conde winning it, and Green Mountain Valley in the semifinal, Sean Paradis scoring to send BBA to the final.
The title game against Montpelier was the first time each team came in at 17-0-0. BBA took the lead on a Liam Kelleher free kick before Montpelier tied it on a Jackson Watson goal three minutes into the second half. The winning goal came from Conde with 10 minutes to go.
It was a game and a season for the ages for the Bulldogs.
2011 Burr and Burton
If 2012 was a coronation for BBA boys soccer, the 2011 season was more about redemption.
The Bulldogs didn't qualify for the postseason in 2010, finishing with a 2-11-1 record.
But with exchange student Rafael Atanazio and senior transfer Greg Goldstone, things changed quickly.
In the regular season, BBA went 11-2-1 and secured the No. 1 seed in Division II for the first time in three years. They started the postseason with shutout wins against Rice and Milton to reach the semifinals against Mount Abraham.
Against the Eagles, BBA had to comeback from an early Mount Abe goal with a pair of tallies, one from Max Gomez and the second from Zack Stewart. Mount Abe tied it with six minutes left, sending it to extra time. In the OT, Goldstone buried the winner to send BBA to its first title game in eight seasons.
In the final against U-32, Goldstone was the man of the hour again, scoring with 11:31 left to beat the Raiders and bring a championship to Manchester.
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