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Burlington Boys, South Burlington Claim D-1 Soccer Titles in Dramatic Fashion

Late stunners seal upset wins for Seahorses and Wolves
Published: Nov. 8, 2020 at 11:37 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The Burlington Boys and South Burlington Girls both tallied remarkable goals to complete upsets in the D-1 soccer state championships Saturday at BHS.

The fifth-seeded Seahorses battled through a nervy affair with #3 Essex, with both goalkeepers maintaining clean sheets through 80 minutes of regulation time. But in the first overtime period, it appeared that the Hornets had claimed the title. Off a long throw in, Matt Correia headed the ball into the net to seemingly end the game. But as Essex was celebrating, the linesman waved it off, ruling Correia had pushed off a defender to clear space.

Given a new lease on life, it did not take long for Burlington to take advantage. About a minute later, Manoj Karki whipped a ball into the box, and Gonzalaiz Arakaza rose up to meet it, beating the Hornet keeper to the ball and handing the Seahorses a dramatic 1-0 overtime win.

“It was an adrenaline rush," Arakaza said after the game. "Honestly I was out of breath. I couldn’t run anymore, my feet were cramping up and I just went for it and that happened! This for my country Burundi though, this is where I was born and I’m very happy to be able to play for BHS.”

The win gave BHS its first title since 2016 (also won by a 1-0 scoreline over Essex in the final) and the sixth in program history.

The South Burlington girls' victory may not have been quite as dramatic but it was even more stunning. Entering Saturday’s final, CVU hadn’t lost a game since falling on penalties in the 2016 semifinals, had won nine of the last ten state titles including each of the last three, and hadn’t given up a goal from the run of play all season. The Wolves ended all of those streaks with a shocking 2-1 upset to claim their first state title in a decade.

After the Redhawks staked out to an early 1-0 lead thanks to a rocket from Josie Pecor, SB got to work to get back in the game. A misplay at the back by the Redhawks allowed Madison King-Thurber to sneak behind the defense and keeper to level the score before halftime, and deep into the second half, Rachel Kelley delivered the deathblow to the CVU dynasty. The Wolves freshman beat her defender into the box and chipped the charging keeper to hand South Burlington the win.

“Being a freshman on this team, it was just so amazing to be able to contribute to it,” Kelley said. "And to have the opportunity to play with my sister who’s a senior, it’s just so crazy, feels so amazing.”

“We came out here thinking that there’s always a possibility, that we just have to play our hardest, and no matter what the outcome is, we love each other,” King-Thurber said. “I think that’s what put us ahead because we played as a team.”

With the win, South Burlington avenged six playoff losses in the previous nine years to CVU and earned their first state title since 2010 and second in program history.

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