ADDISON COUNTY — The Mount Abraham Union High School boys’ soccer team reasserted itself this fall as the best among local sides, compiling a 9-6-1 record that included a Division II home playoff victory. Among their fine individual efforts was that of the 2009 Addison Independent Player of the Year, junior central midfielder Phil McCormick.
Coach Mike Corey’s Eagles had plenty of depth that is reflected in this edition of the Addison Independent Boys’ Soccer All-Star Team: In all, six Eagles earned recognition here.
Coach Doc Seubert saw a major rebuilding project this fall after many of the athletes who helped the Tigers earn consecutive D-II home playoff games had graduated. His young team fared respectably, winning six games, including one at D-II finalist Missisquoi. Two Tigers made the Independent squad.
First-year Vergennes coach Kevin Hayes inherited a young team that promptly was also hit by injuries. The Commodores played hard and won twice while showing promise for the future. Two VUHS veterans earned spots on this team.
Another first-year coach took over at Otter Valley, another young team hard-hit by graduation. Coach Mark Quenneville’s squad had trouble scoring, but kept plugging and also pulled out a couple of victories. A senior midfielder made this team.
Selections for the Independent team were made based on observation, consultation with coaches, and statistics. Congratulations to the following:
PHIL MCCORMICK, MOUNT ABE JUNIOR MIDFIELDER, PLAYER OF THE YEAR. Notes: Highly skilled, competitive athlete who sparked Mount Abe with six goals and nine assists ... Plays as hard and uses his quickness as well defensively as he does on the attack ... Has the technical ability to take opponents on one-on-one and the field vision to set up teammates.
Corey’s Quotes: “Phil is blessed with speed, quickness, stamina and a tremendous competitive spirit. He also has technical skills that make him a dominant midfield presence ... Phil is one of the hardest working and most committed players I’ve coached over the last 25 years ... He has a strong shot from either foot ... As a central midfield player he covers great distances to attack and defend ... His play is consistently of the highest order.”
NICK EARLE, MOUNT ABE SENIOR STRIKER. Notes: Speedy striker who led all local scorers with 11 goals, including five game-winners, and chipped in an assist ... Had a hard and accurate shot right- or left-footed ... Showed the ability to get open and good touch on the ball to set up his shots.
Corey’s Quotes: “(He had) exceptional speed ... One of Nick’s greatest attributes as a striker is the precision of his shot, either foot. It is rare the ball doesn’t go exactly where he plans ... He also has a quick release ... Keepers have been forced to make many great saves to keep his shots from finding the back of the net.”
ETHAN ROY, MUHS JUNIOR MIDFIELDER. Notes: Smart, skilled and fast central midfielder who stepped into the attack and led MUHS with four goals, adding one assist ... Excellent defensive midfielder, both stopping individual moves and reading passing lanes ... Fine ballhandler and passer.
Seubert’s Quotes: “Ethan is tenacious. He pursues. He’s relentless in his pursuit ... He was able to move the ball through congested areas and maintain control ... He’s very quick ... He’s very good in the air, especially for his size ... He has a nose for the goal, but he’s unselfish ... He’s a quiet leader ... He has the respect of his teammates.”
RYAN SIEGLE, MOUNT ABE SENIOR MIDFIELDER. Notes: Smart, consistent midfielder who set up four goals and scored a 23-yard, left-footed blast in the Eagles’ 2-1 overtime playoff loss to Milton ... Excelled at winning 50-50 balls and setting up teammates’ runs ... Fine defender and team leader who made clutch defensive plays in the Eagles’ postseason win.
Corey’s Quotes: “Ryan finished his career in fine fashion, scoring a brilliant goal in our quarterfinal match ... He was a midfield work horse ... (He was) strong on the ball, winning most challenges ... Ryan has the rare talent of being able to strike powerful shots with either foot.”
DUSTIN DATTILIO, VUHS SENIOR MIDFIELDER. Notes: Talented, quick and versatile multi-year varsity athlete who this year played mostly midfield, but also switched back to defense when needed there late in the season ... Scored two goals and set up one ... Smart player with fine skills and a sound tactical understanding of the game.
Hayes’ Quotes: “(Late in the season) we needed someone in the back with a good sense of the game ... We placed him on one of the good individuals on the other team ... Versatility definitely was Dustin ... He had vision there (at midfield) and used the wings well ... He was willing to accept any role. That was great ... He had stamina, skills and determination.”
GRAYSON WEBB, MOUNT ABE SOPHOMORE STRIKER. Notes: Quick, talented forward who made an immediate impact on the varsity level with eight goals and two assists; could have added to those totals if not for late-season injuries ... Opened the season as a substitute, but earned a starting spot with consistent production.
Corey’s Quotes: “Grayson is a player of great intelligence and tenacity ... (He uses) his speed to get to the right places ... There were few good opportunities he did not finish ... Grayson has a striker’s mentality. He completes every run even though the opportunity seems lost. This persistence has resulted in goals.”
SEDDRICK WEEKES, MUHS SENIOR MIDFIELDER. Notes: Played a major role in the Tigers’ success with his ball-winning, distribution and defensive skills at midfield ... Showed a good understanding of the game and set up runs for his teammates, especially on the flanks ... Versatile, technically skilled player who also played up front, recording three goals and two assists.
Seubert’s Quotes: “He committed himself in the offseason to getting stronger ... His game just grew ... He was dogged in his pursuit ... We would not have been as successful as we were without him ... He created really good opportunities for people ... He was really committed to everything we did.”
KYLE BIRCHMORE, VUHS SENIOR MIDFIELDER. Notes: Strong, talented and versatile player who spent most of his time at midfield, but also ran up front and played defense ... Scored two goals and set up one ... Excellent ball-winner and passer who became a team leader.
Hayes’ Quotes: “He was that player you wanted to have the ball moving forward ... He was very good on 50-50 balls and in balls in the air ... He definitely grew to be a leader. He’s a great kid ... He possessed the ball and distributed to the flanks ... He had good skills attacking the goal ... He was an all-around player. I could use him anywhere.”
BRETT LERTOLA, OVUHS SENIOR DEFENDER. Notes: Big, strong reliable defender ... Talked well on the field and helped organize the OV defense ... Struck the ball very well and took almost all of OV’s restarts, creating many dangerous chances and assisting OV’s overtime game-winner vs. Mill River.
Quenneville’s Quotes: “He’s a good leader ... He was always placing people. (He’s) a good communicator ... He was just an all-around good team player ... He’s a great defender. I don’t know how many goals he saved ... He always knew what was going on ... Whenever we had direct kicks he would place the ball perfectly.”
LEVI DUCLOS, MOUNT ABE SENIOR DEFENDER.Notes: Experienced three-year starter who provided the glue for a young Eagle defense that allowed just a little more than a goal a game ... Smart positional player with solid skills and the sense to know when to clear the ball from trouble and when to settle the ball and work it up the field ... Calm, valuable team leader.
Corey’s Quotes: “Levi was the anchor of our back four ... Levi has many talents as a player and team leader. The most important may be his calm, focused approach to the game ... As a defender he is tough as nails ... Levi never lost his composure or clear focus on the task at hand ... Levi is a talented player who is the model of what is a true sportsman.”
SAM LOW, MOUNT ABE SENIOR GOALIE. Notes: Senior two-year varsity athlete who racked up 90 saves and seven shutouts this fall ... Finished his two-year career with 12 shutouts ... Used his 6-3 height and understanding of the game to come out and take charge of balls sent into the penalty area, and his quick reflexes and long arms to save many shots.
Corey’s Quotes: “Sam is a very technical, tactically knowledgeable, athletic keeper ... He is tall and lanky with superb range and quickness ... His excellent shot-stopping ability and soft hands have frustrated many attackers ... His size makes him a dominant force in his box ... Sam made many game-saving stops, giving our young defense time to mature.”