CVU Boys Soccer Preparing to Defend Title
Redhawks dealing with COVID restrictions in hunt for three-peat
HINESBURG, Vt. (WCAX) - For the past two years, the CVU boys soccer program has been utterly dominant in the Vermont high school ranks.
“Now that we’re at the top, everyone’s gonna try even harder every time they play CVU,” said senior midfielder Henry Bijur.
The Redhawks have capped off back-to-back undefeated seasons with Division 1 State Championships, giving the school 19 all time. But this season is going to be different for several reasons.
“For one thing, we’re gonna have a lot of new players this year,” said senior forward Ben Sampson. “We graduated a huge senior class last year. And the fact that only half of us are going to class on the same day is going to make team bonding a lot harder.”
“It’s just really important that we lead them by example and kind of show them the ropes in the early days,” added senior back Cooper Whalen.
The mask mandate has added yet another complication the Redhawks will have to contend with.
“Obviously it’s gonna change a lot,” Sampson said. “It’s gonna feel different wearing a mask and having to sprint around the field for 90 minutes. But in the end, as long as we get to play, I think we’re happy.”
“Personally, I haven’t played with a mask yet,” Whalen said. “I think it’s gonna start with school season on September 8th and I guess we’ll just see from there. I don’t personally think it’s gonna be that much of a differentiator.”
One of the biggest reasons for CVU’s success in recent years has been the chemistry and familiarity between teammates, but for obvious reasons that has been hard to build this offseason.
“There’s definitely been a lot more individual stuff than normal,” Bijur said. “I think in a normal time with the Spring club season that I’d be playing with other kids three to four times a week. And then this Spring, I was by myself for the whole time.”
Fortunately for the Redhawks, they have the advantage that many of their players play for the same club team and have been able to play together this Summer.
“The older kids at Far Post, most of them, a lot of them play for CVU,” Sampson said. “It’s super nice, I mean for soccer especially you need really good team chemistry so to be able to play with the same guys all year round is super important.”
And to add on to that, the upperclassmen have been planning workouts to keep everyone organized and prepared for the upcoming campaign.
“We’ve been having three captains practices a week, without a coach, athlete run,” Whalen said. “We’ve been trying to put on productive sessions for the returners as well as the newcomers. So I think we’ve got a super committed team this year.”
And the seniors are hopeful that universal buy in will help CVU will achieve their ultimate goal...and end the 2020 campaign the same way they’ve ended the last two
“The goal is to win the state championship, as always,” Sampson said.
“Win the state championship,” Bijur agreed.
“Win the state championship of course...and go undefeated,” Whalen added.
Official practices can begin September 8th with games beginning roughly two weeks later.
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