VPA D-II boys soccer: MSJ catches Rivendell late for title

  • Rivendell's Josiah Welch and Mt. St. Joseph's goalkeeper Peter Carlson collide setting up Rivendell's first goal by Derek Vogelien in the first half of the VPA Division IV boys soccer championship on Saturday, Oct., 6, 2021 in Manchester, Vt. Mt. St. Joseph's Marquise Reed and Jacob Williams are behind them. Mt. St. Joseph's won 3-2. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — Jennifer Hauck

  • After their loss Rivendell's Kyle Carter helps teammate Jameson Gilbert up at the VPA Division IV boys soccer championship on Saturday, Oct., 6, 2021 in Manchester, Vt. Both are captains. Mt. St. Joseph's won 3-2. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News photographs — Jennifer Hauck

  • Rivendell's Chris Pierce (15) moves the ball with Mt. St. Joseph's Dominic Valente (13) Brian Pierce (10) and Kyle Costales around him in the first half of the VPA Division IV boys soccer championship on Saturday, Oct., 6, 2021 in Manchester, Vt. Mt. St. Joseph's won 3-2.(Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Jennifer Hauck

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 11/6/2021 10:14:02 PM
Modified: 11/6/2021 10:14:02 PM

MANCHESTER, Vt. — The Rivendell Academy boys soccer team had it.

With eight minutes remaining in Saturday’s VPA Division IV championship game against No. 1 Mount St. Joseph, senior Kyle Carter scored on a free kick to give No. 2 Rivendell a 2-1 lead.

Just keep MSJ off the scoreboard for eight minutes, and the Raptors would be state champions for the second time in program history.

Rivendell had it. But MSJ took it.

The Mounties scored two goals in the final seven minutes, including a winner with 38 seconds left, to emerge 3-2 winners Saturday at Applejack Stadium. It’s MSJ’s first boys soccer state title in school history.

“I thought they were a really fast team,” Carter said. “And all credit to them. They exploited our weaknesses; they played a really good game. And they got the best of us in the end of it.”

Carter’s free kick happened because the referee called MSJ goalie Peter Carlson for a hand ball, ruling he touched the ball outside the 18-yard box. Carter knew that Carlson’s line of vision on the straightaway free kick would be obstructed, so he wanted to keep it out of his sight for as long as possible and place it into the top right corner.

He did exactly that. Carter and his Rivendell (12-4-1) teammates jumped around in celebration, running back to their defensive half.

MSJ (16-1-0) coach Josh Souza simply asked his team to respond.

“They’ve been doing it all year. Generally, that’s not the position that we’re put in,” Souza said. “It speaks to the depth and the heart on this team as a group. Top to bottom.”

The Mounties didn’t need much time to do so. They tied the game a minute later on a goal by Ryan Jones. Tyler Corey played a ball from the right side of the field to Jones, who was right in front of a wide-open goal.

The teams continued battling. The tide had quickly turned toward MSJ, but time was of the essence. Overtime loomed.

But the Mounties weren’t interested in any additional time. With less than a minute to play, Corey passed to Jones inside the box. And Jones sent it into the right side of the goal.

He wheeled away, screaming. Raptor hands went on heads.

“(It was) upsetting, especially after the second goal,” Rivendell junior Josiah Welch said. “After the second goal, we had a lot of momentum. They came back and just outworked us and scored, and then got the momentum shift in their way.”

The game was very open, with both teams facilitating plenty of scoring opportunities, particularly in the first half. That’s how Rivendell head coach Kevin Brooker expected the match to play out.

MSJ opened the scoring on a goal by Corey in the 20th minute. He dribbled through multiple Rivendell defenders in the box, found the angle he wanted and smashed a shot into the left side of the goal.

The Raptors staved off more MSJ chances from there while continuing to create many of their own. They broke through with less than a minute to go in the half.

Welch made a skillful run into the box, weaving through several MSJ defenders. He belted a shot from around the penalty spot, which deflected to junior Derek Vogelien right in front of the goal line. The linesman kept his flag down, ruling Vogelien onside, and the junior leveled the score.

Despite the tough finish, Brooker was proud of his players’ efforts and said they should be proud of themselves. He told them to hold their heads high.

“They have nothing to feel bad about. They played a great game,” Brooker said. “Championships are hard. It’s hard to win. They’re a good bunch of kids; they played well. We got a lot of compliments from the MSJ guys that felt heartfelt. We were a little closer (today) than we were (in past years). So it’s all good.”

Carter echoed the same sentiment to his teammates. He said the Raptors can take pride in playing the maximum number of games and coming as close as they did.

He said his final high school season was extremely memorable.

“It’s meant the world. This playoff run has been an experience I’ll never forget,” Carter said. “I know that’s the same for a lot of the guys, especially the seniors.

“I’ve been playing with these guys since I could barely put cleats on, so it’s an honor to play with them all the way up till now. And it’s been a hell of a ride.”

Seth Tow can be reached at stow@vnews.com.




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