Club Soccer Falls in Regionals

The women’s club soccer team hit the road last weekend to compete in the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) Region I soccer tournament. 

The tournament was held Oct. 26-27 in Downingtown, Pa. Each year, the tournament includes the top two teams in each NIRSA region. 

Vermont finished second in the New England West Division this year with a record of 5-0-1. This is the club’s fourth year in a row qualifying for the tournament. 

“This past weekend, at Regionals we made it to the semifinals,” senior club president Mackenzie Hart said. “Unfortunately we lost, but it was the farthest we have made it in my four years.” The team’s record at the tournament was 2-1-1. 

Junior Kelsey Porter was the coordinator for the team’s trip to Regionals this year. 

“I organized everything for to traveling to regionals,” Ported said.  She has been a starting defender since her freshman year. “We have learned how each other play and learned to capitalize on our strengths.” 

“This growth led us to the best season I have seen since being on the team,” she said. 

Hannah Matthews, junior treasurer for the  team, believes one of the main reasons for the team’s success is the strong bond between players. 

“I think that this year we have really amazing chemistry and we’re all really clicking on and off the field,” Matthews said. 

“Everyone is also super committed to getting to practice and working their hardest, which is really important for a club sport when commitment can be kind of difficult to instill.”

Junior Hayley Maynes said the persona of the team this year was an influence on their success.  

“Attitude is one of our best traits and our greatest weapon against other teams on the field,” Maynes said.

Senior Emily Secur also contributed to the team’s success this season. 

“She puts her all into every game and practice and has definitely proven to be a team leader,” Hart said. “She has saved our butts in games we should have lost and her fierceness on the field is contagious.”

Senior Kasey Bilideau’s accuracy and skills have helped to lead her team to victory, according to teammates. 

“She has the most skilled footwork on the team and has incredible accuracy when striking the ball,” Hart said. “Her foot skills and accuracy in the midfield have been deadly for opposing teams.”

According to Hart, many of the players on UVM’s club team were offered spots on National Collegiate Athletic Association teams. 

Matthews’ favorite memories come from what happens off the field rather than specific plays during the game. 

A few memories that Matthews described include “going to Simpson dining after 6 a.m. practice and just chowing down and being so loud while everyone around is scowling and confused as to why we’re so spunky at eight in the morning.”

Another one of Matthews’ favorite memories is “the long van rides to games with everyone singing along to the radio at the top of their lungs and growing totally delirious or pretty much any time we beat Dartmouth.”

 “Everyone on the team is absolutely hilarious and so much fun to be around.” Matthews said she can’t imagine her college career at UVM without club soccer. “I’ve made all of my best friends from the team and have committed myself fully to being a part of the team.”

Club sports at UVM are different than varsity sports. The major difference is that on a normal varsity team, players get recruited and then abide by the coaches’ rules, Hart said. 

“With us, it’s completely student run,” she said. “The captains of the team pick the players and we hire a coach to run practice and come to games.” 

This makes being an officer for a club like women’s soccer a big time commitment and responsibility. 

Matthews also commented that “it is incredible to feel like I’m still improving my play and becoming a better player than ever, even as a junior in college.” 

“I think we’re unique in that we do a really good job of balancing the seriousness of a competitive team with having fun and building friendships,” Matthews said. 

“At practice, as soon as play stops you’ll hear people cracking jokes and laughing hysterically, but as soon as the ball is back in play everyone puts their game faces on and is ready to work.” 

and one from senior defender Thomas Manz.

“Any time you can get a couple of goals early and really give yourself a cushion, it’s a positive, especially in the playoffs,” Albany head coach Trevor Gorman said

This isn’t the first time the Catamounts and the Great Danes have faced off against each other.

Earlier this season, Vermont hosted Albany Oct. 19, the Catamounts came out with a 2-1 victory for the men in green and gold.

“We came up here a couple of weeks ago and thought we did okay but didn’t really play our best game,” Gorman said.

Albany continued their scoring with an accidental goal off of a free kick by Te Anau.

In the unlucky attempt by the Vermont defenders to protect the goal from Ta Anau’s kick, the shot was deflected off one of the heads of a Vermont defender and ended up being scored in Vermont’s own net.

Albany lead the match 5-0 until the 69th minute of play. Vermont senior defender Beau Johnson completed a pass from first-year forward Brian Wright to ruin the Great Danes chances of a shutout.

“We always felt if we could take care of that we could get chances going our way on the other end and obviously it worked out very well for us,” said Gorman.

Vermont goaltenders senior Conor Leland and junior Ryan Bailey combined to save two stops in the loss to Albany.

“I thought we did a really good job of playing quality soccer in the first half,” Cormier said.

Leland ended the 2013 season with 64 saves and seven shutouts under his belt. Wright and senior defender Salvatore Borea end the season with a team high of six and four goals earned respectively.

The young talent has really stepped up this season to help the veterans, Cormier said.

Among the talented underclassmen is first-year Bernard Yeboah who saw action in 17 of the 18 games this season.

Yeboah was recently announced as a member of the America East all-rookie team.

He ends the season with two goals, two assists and 26 totally shots on goal. Yeboah will continue his current success into next season with the Catamounts.

Wright also received the America East honor of Rookie of the Year, and earned himself a spot on the All-Conference second team.

Senior defender Scott Kisling joined Wright in the second team honors, while sophomore midfielder Charlie Defeo earned All-Conference first team honors for his time with Vermont.

The Catamounts end the current season with a 3-3-1 record in the America East Conference and a 9-5-4 record overall.

“I was worried about this during the season, we didn’t have the right chemistry and the right quality at the right time, Cormier said.”


The team will graduate six seniors from the roster: Conor Leland, Scott Kisling, Beau Johnson, Caz Rafalik, Noah Johnson and Salvatore Borea.