ADDISON COUNTY — The 2013 Mount Abraham Union High School boys’ soccer team made history, not only winning the program’s third championship, but also setting a record for victories at 17-1.
The Eagles’ best player, senior midfielder Cale Thygesen, becomes our 2013 Addison Independent Boys’ Soccer Player of the Year. But Coach Mike Corey’s Eagles were so deep they won the Division II final even after Thygesen left the game with an injury with the score tied at 0-0. Unsurprisingly, five of Thygesen’s teammates join him on the 2013 Addison Independent Boys’ Soccer All-Star team.
Coach Kevin Hayes’ Vergennes team went 5-9-2, a record that included one road playoff win, a quarterfinal loss to the No. 2 seed on penalty kicks, and two one-goal setbacks to the Eagles. Two senior defenders who helped keep the Commodores in almost every game are honored here.
After graduating a dozen players from the best team in Middlebury history, first-year Coach Bret Weekes’ Tigers went through a 1-10-1 season that included six losses by one or two goals. Two players who helped keep the Tigers on an even keel made the Independent squad.
Playing a less challenging schedule than the other local teams, Coach Muffie Harvey’s Otter Valley group played hard and made the most of its opportunities to finish with five wins. A versatile and high-scoring senior makes a return appearance here.
Selections were made based on observation, statistics and consultation with the coaches. Congratulations to the following:
CALE THYGESEN, MOUNT ABE SENIOR, PLAYER OF THE YEAR. Notes: The highly skilled engine that made the Eagles run … Scored nine goals — many of them timely in close games — and used his excellent field vision and passing skills to rack up a local high of 10 assists … Smart and determined defender at midfield, and at times moved back to central defense when Mount Abe was nursing leads … Added leadership and motivation skills to his toolkit this season as the Eagles developed great chemistry … Recruited to play D-I college soccer at the University of Vermont.
Corey’s Quotes: “I think he is likely the best high school player in Vermont … Cale is exceptionally technical in all aspects of ball control, passing and shooting … He also takes his understanding of the game to the defensive side by being in the right space to support his teammates … What I think has been the most impressive part of Cale’s season has been his leadership, his ability through his actions and words to encourage, even inspire his teammates to a higher level.”
AIDEN WHITE-PIFER, MOUNT ABE SENIOR. Notes: Talented all-around player who teamed up with Thygesen at central midfield to help the Eagles dominate games … Skilled, smart player who scored three goals and assisted on four … Raised his play when Thygesen went down in the final and set up the winning goal with a perfectly struck free kick … Worked hard defensively to disrupt opponents at midfield.
Corey’s Quotes: “He’s one of the most skilled players in Vermont. Aiden was art in motion on the field … Tactically, he consistently made the right decisions … His command of the ball is brilliant. (He had) the ability to put the ball on the dime almost every time … On the defensive side he was tenacious … His restarts were dangerous and on target.”
BARRON HARVEY, OV SENIOR. Notes: Strong, versatile and skilled athlete who led all local players with 14 goals and chipped in nine assists … Spent most of his time at offensive central midfield, but at times moved up to striker when OV needed a spark, or back to defense when help was needed there … Possesses a hard shot and the touch on the ball to make good use of his field vision and set up runs for his teammates … Strong defender at midfield and a vocal team leader.
Coach Harvey’s Quotes: “One of his most wonderful traits on the field is his willingness to communicate … He can go anywhere ... He is equally talented with both feet … He just shuts it down (on defense) … He will maintain possession of the ball until he sees the right time and space to release it … Very rarely can (opponents) get around him … Goalies just dread seeing him come at them … He’s a strong leader… He’s a total team player.”
CALDER BIRDSEY, MUHS JUNIOR. Notes: Skilled, tough two-way central midfielder and tri-captain who helped the Tigers remain competitive in many games … Scored four goals and added six assists, numbers that don’t show the number of threats he helped set up with his understanding of the game and touch on the ball … Strong defender at midfield who worked hard for 50-50 balls and won more than his share.
Weekes’ Quotes: “Calder is kind of a quiet leader … He’s competitive. He’s got fire … Calder’s skill level is very good. His vision is very good … He’s creative with the ball … He makes players around him better … Calder was that controlling presence in the central midfield … You’ve got to have that (physicality) in that space. You can’t be easily knocked off the ball.”
ETHAN WHITE, MOUNT ABE SENIOR. Notes: Fast, savvy and dangerous striker who netted 12 goals and set up a pair … A real threat using his quickness and timing to run onto through balls … Knew how to hit the corners under pressure … Fit athlete who remained in perpetual motion and put a lot of heat on defenders when they had the ball.
Corey’s Quotes: “Possessed with great speed and excellent finishing skills under pressure, Ethan was a big challenge for opposing defenders … Ethan consistently made the right runs at the right angles at the right time to allow our midfield passes and crosses to find him in great spots … He had a tremendous work rate … Ethan’s pressure up top often forced defenders into hasty decisions and mistakes.”
SAWYER KAMMAN, MOUNT ABE SENIOR. Notes: Athletic forward who gave the Eagles solid production from the left side … Scored nine goals and set up six more, and was dangerous with either foot … Hard-working, physical player who won balls, made strong runs, and recovered quickly to defend … Co-captain who provided key leadership and helped the Eagles bond.
Corey’s Quotes: Sawyer’s ability to get behind defenders, serve incredible balls and score some of our most dramatic goals was indispensable to our success … Sawyer uses his exceptional athleticism to great advantage. His size, speed and technical skills allowed him to break down defenses … Sawyer is an exceptional teammate. As a captain, the thoughtfulness in his leadership style was instrumental in creating a team culture where every teammate felt equally valued.”
THEO WEAVER, MOUNT ABE JUNIOR. Notes: Tenacious defender at left back who had the versatility and skill to often step into the attack or move to central midfield or striker, scoring seven goals and setting up four when he did so … In the back marked well and moved the ball smartly to the midfield … At midfield used his technical ability and vision to help maintain the Eagles’ possession game … Also could take on defenders one on one.
Corey’s Quotes: “In addition to defending, Theo was an incredible asset as an attacking player … Theo is a complete soccer player, effective as a defender, midfielder or forward … As a defender he covers well for his teammates … Theo is very strong and contains or wins balls from attacking players … It wasn’t unusual to see him run by opposing forwards and midfielders to create a shooting opportunity for himself or his teammates.”
RYAN MORIGLIONI, VUHS SENIOR. Notes: Big, strong defender who came into his own, especially when taking over fulltime at sweeper in the final third of the season after also playing on the flank and at stopper … Took charge in the box in the air, marked well, and communicated to coordinate the defense … Had the skill to move the ball out of trouble and made smart, decisive passes … Keyed a defense that only twice gave up more than two goals.
Hayes’ Quotes: “He improved so much … He found his voice … He took such good angles … He was a force in the air. He started using his height … Technically he’s pretty sound. He likes to use both feet … He’s definitely got vision … You could put him anywhere, but in the end we settled him in the back … Ryan did a great job. He commanded things back there.”
MAX LIVINGSTONE-PETERS, MUHS SENIOR. Notes: Fast, tenacious defensive midfielder with the skills and versatility to play a game at striker and score vs. Mount Abe … Team leader who played just as hard for the 2013 one-win team as for the 2012 14-win squad, setting the tone for the team … Possessed excellent stamina and competitive spirit.
Weekes’ Quotes: “His pace is tremendous … His intensity and willingness to compete are tremendous assets … His willingness to make the rally call under a lot of adversity and continue to do that was important for our team. When you’re a senior on a young team and it’s not going your way, it would be easy to throw in the towel, but Max never did that … The wins they’re going to have next year, he’s going to be a contributor to … His work ethic is just topnotch. He’ll never quit.”
JORDAN STEARNS, VUHS SENIOR. Notes: Relentless ball-winner and defender in the back and at central defensive midfield … Strong, quick, physical player who developed the ability to distribute the ball and step into the attack … Good one-on-one and positional defender who helped set the tone for an inexperienced squad.
Hayes’ Quotes: “Jordan really did a lot. His physical presence was great … His heart and drive helped keep us in games ... He was a solid athlete all the way around … He distributed well. He got so much better at that … He’s just strong … He had a win-it-back mentality when he lost it, but he rarely lost it … He was a great leader.”
IRA FISHER, MOUNT ABE SENIOR. Notes: Converted to goal from striker in 2012 … Split time in goal last season and volunteered for fulltime duty this fall, devoted himself to learning the position in the offseason … Allowed 14 goals — one in four playoff contests — and posted nine shutouts in 18 games … Good athlete with quick reflexes and good jumping ability who quickly learned the nuances of when to stay on his line and when to come out to break up plays … Smart distributor.
Corey’s Quotes: “He volunteered to stay on in (the goal), which made his team and coach very happy … His powerful punts, goal kicks, and long distributions kick-started our attack … Ira made some brilliant saves along the way, preserving our record … A reaction save of a point-blank shot in the Rice semifinal was critical to our moving on.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at email@example.com.