Vermont Chargers Win in 2nd Annual Zach StamisÕ Memorial Cup

On Saturday, VermontÕs power soccer team won the second annual Zach StamisÕ Memorial Cup located in Patrick Gym. The event is a tribute to Zach Stamis, a former Vermont student and team member who passed away in the summer of 2011.

Power soccer is the first competitive sport that is designed specifically for power wheelchair users. Team member and Vermont senior Zach Schmoll describes power soccer as a Òhybrid of hockey and basketball.Ó

ÒIt is the fastest growing adaptive sport in the world,Ó team member Scott Goyette said. ÒIt’s the only competitive team sport available to people who use power wheelchairs.Ó

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Usually coached by adaptive sports expert Sandy Craige, the Vermont Chargers made a new addition to their coaching staff this year. The team had the pleasure of adding UVM menÕs soccer head coach Jesse Cormier to the staff. Cormier has helped the team work on their fundamentals during afternoon skill-building sessions.

ÒJesse’s great. He’s so high energy, Senior Zachary Schmoll said. ÒHe keeps us engaged and if we start losing focus he’s very attentive to that, which is helpful.Ó

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Players include those with spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy. It is one of the fastest growing adaptive sports in the world. The game is played with teams of four-on-four. Three offensive players attempt to pass and maneuver the 13-inch ball using a guard on the front of their chair, while the fourth team member guards the goal.

Four teams participated in the tournament including Vermont: the Boston Breakers, the Massachusetts Hospital School Chariots and the North Passage Power Club. Vermont began its day against the MHS Chariots before taking on the Breakers at noon.

ÒWe tried our best to create a great experience for everyone involved, Schmoll said. ÒWe’re also grateful to the University of Vermont and the Northeast Disabled Athletic Association for helping us make this happen.Ó

After an afternoon break, the Chargers played the Power Cats prior to the Championship Game against the Massachusetts Hospital School Chariots. The Chargers came out as the champions in the end, winning 5-1 against the Chariots. Earlier that day when the Chargers faced off against the Chariots they only came out one ahead.

ÒThe major difference was the fact that we finally settled down and executed,Ó Schmoll said. ÒWe certainly made mistakes, and we have work to do, but that last game was probably our best of the day.Ó

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The event was organized in part by team member Scott Goyotte. He believes that the event is Òour way of honoring [Stamis] and showing people the sport that we love. Burlington is a great sports town. We’re grateful to have this venue to show people what we can do.Ó

The team will represent Vermont at the power soccer national championship this summer in Phoenix, AZ.