Soccer Play-offs Get Underway Tuesday With Boy’s Contests

MONTPELIER–The Vermont Principals Association released their fall play-off schedule on Monday.Here is a breakdown of who North Country, Lake Region, United Christian Academy and Craftsbury Academy will be playing starting Tuesday.North Country (15) at CVU (2) Boys Soccer Tuesday at 3:00The Falcons only saw Champlain Valley once this season, a 3-0 loss on the road.The game was played on a sloppy JV field and had the unfortunate start time of 10:00 AM.CVU scored all three goals in the first half, then NCU shut them down in the second, so it is possible that the Redhawks can be contained.But looking at the overall scoring performances, CVU routinely scored three of more goals per game while the Falcons amassed an average of less than a one.In order to perform the upset North Country will need a stellar performance from their defense, find some much needed scoring and goalie Logan Fortier must play the game of his life.Said coach James McKenny, "It’s a big task, obviously it is not an ideal draw, but is it is going to be about coming off of the bus prepared and not worrying about who they are or what this school’s history is.“It is about the game today and what we have worked up to this year.”North Country (9) at Spaulding (8) Girls Soccer Wednesday at 3:00This match is a toss up. In their one meeting this season, the Tide picked up the 3-1 win, but NCU could have had an off day.“There is no big surprises as we played this team a week ago,” said coach Peter Alexander. “They are a big team with a big goalie, so it will be a battle and we are eagerly looking forward to it. Looking ahead, if we win, it will be a free shot at Essex, who we will play next year.” Both teams sit at 8-5-1 and neither one played a primarily Division I schedule, so this game is tough to call.In order to get the win, Devinnie Davis will have to be on her game and convert on any chance she gets.Anna Bingham, who is playing her best soccer of the year right now, must stay at that high level, while the defense will have to keep the ball out of the Falcons 18.This is a game that NCU can win, but all of the above mentioned factors have to come into play.Lake Region (3) VS Mill River (14) Wednesday at 3:00Mill River's three win season is misleading. They played no Division III teams and four Division I teams with the rest of their matches being against Division II squads.On the flip side, the Rangers faced off against no D I teams, one D II team, a D IV team, and the rest were members of D III, a much easier schedule indeed.But, be that as it may, Lake Region should be able to win this match, although the two teams did not meet up this year, so there is that wrinkle to deal with. Josh Thibault and Shaquille Urie are having terrific seasons, and Byron Burdick, Drew Gallup and the rest of the LRU defenders are as tough a crew to play against as anybody.A wild card could by goalie Dennis Newland, who has not yet manned the nets in this type of pressured filled match.If the junior is on his game, then there should not be any problems for the Rangers in this opening round contest.Lake Region (4) vs Otter Valley (13) Girls Soccer Wednesday at 3:00This game could become a showcase of the offensively advantaged.Both teams can score, as evident by the fact that OV was shut-out only once, and had games of 5 and 10 goal totals in 2012.Led by Tyrah Urie's prolific scoring spree, the Lady Rangers too were shut-out just once and scored four or more goals six times this year.Schedules could be a factor in this match as well.It was primarily D III and D IV opponents for LRU, while Otter Valley faced a healthy mix of all four divisions.The difference is going to be how well Sarah Burnham, Ashley Locke and the rest of the midds and backs stop the offense and transition the ball to the forwards.Jordyn Cowles' eight shut-outs are a direct result of how well these girls played in front of her this season, so keep on eye on the defense.This should be a win for the home team, but having not seen each other this season, anything could happen.UCA (8) VS West Rutland (9) Boys Soccer Tuesday at 3:00It has been a long time since the Crusaders hosted a play-off game, and the team is excited."I am incredibly proud of these guys," said coach Alyssa DeLaBruere.And she should be. After last year's winless campaign, the boys put up a winning record (6-5-3), and showed improvement as the year went along.A factor could be injuries.The team was pretty banged up at the end of the year, and they elected to not play their final game of the season in favor of rest and recuperation.Up front, Ji Kim and Justin Limoges will have to be the scorers that they know they can be, while Paul Samaan, Marc Quirion and Dale Martell must provide steady defense and positive leadership.Chris DeLaBruere is as good as anyone manning the nets in D IV, so the team is as ready as it ever will be to get things underway today.UCA (11) at Craftsbury (6) Girls Soccer Wednesday at 3:00This is an interesting contest for the fact that all three times these two got together the outcome was different.CA won the first game, they tied in the second, and UCA won the third match, so arguably this could be anyone’s win.UCA heated up down the stretch, but had to rely heavily on their defense and Laura Libby's goal scoring ability.Craftsbury has more weapons up front, but has had injuries derail them at times this season.Eighth grader Amy DeLaBruere will have to play above her years, and veterans like Hannah Piette, Olivia Foster and keeper Lydia Samaan must all be on their game if the Lady Crusaders wish to advance to the second round.Craftsbury (13) at Sharon (4) Boys Soccer Tuesday at 3:00This is the match I know the least about, having seen the Academy boys so little this year.The two teams did not face off at all in 2012 and Sharon played a more difficult schedule than did Craftsbury.Frank Spiese is the leader of the team, and the lone senior, so his guidance and patience is of the utmost importance. The younger guys, like Kyle Adams and Austin Massi will have to be reliable up front, scoring when they can, in order for the Chargers to pick up a first-round win.