Article published Nov 2, 2005
Cosmos roar into first-ever state final
SPRINGFIELD — No one ever disputed the fact that Springfield soccer coach Paul Kendall knows of what he speaks. However, that fact that he successfully looked a little bit into the future before the Cosmos 4-1 win over Rice in Tuesday's Division II semifinal at Gurney Field is subject to speculation.
"I told Bryan Broemel he was going to have a good day," said Kendall. "It was announced earlier in the day that he was an all-stater and I told him he was going to play well today. "What did he get, two goals?
Yes, he did, and the Cosmo booters are on their way to their first-ever appearance in a state championship game.
Three years ago, Springfield was completing its second consecutive winless season when Kendall got the job. His first year the Cosmos made it to the quarterfinals, last year to the semis and on Saturday at 10 a.m., they will take on U-32 for the big prize.
"It's incredible," said Kendall. "I didn't think we would get this far this soon."
"He has been the backbone of this team," said attacker Brendan Nelson, who had two assists and a goal. "He pushes us, but he keeps telling us that hard work will pay off and here we are. This is unbelievable. This is the best day ever."
"I do make them work hard, but these guys busted for me all year," said Kendall, his eyes gleaming, his face proud.
The race for the Division II title has been a strange one in that none of the top four teams made it to the semifinals. The championship game will feature fifth-seeded, 13-3-0 U-32 against the sixth-seeded, 10-3-2 Cosmos. Location of that game is to be determined by the Vermont Principals Association today.
While the final score indicates that it was a walk in the park for the Cosmos, it was anything but. The game was tied 1-1 at the half and it was just 2-1 with 25:26 to go. Then the Cosmos got the goal that allowed them to breathe easier when Nelson's corner kick caromed around in the area before Broemel got a foot on it and deposited inside the far post.
"We didn't defend well there," said Rice coach Ed DeMulder. "That goal was back-breaker."
Springfield later added the fourth goal when Eric Rinder converted a penalty kick.
While Broemel and Nelson grabbed the headlines for their offensive play, it was a day of many stars for the Cosmos. Zack Ankuda, Alex Curtis and Rinder were like a fence on defense. Zac Kerin shadowed and controlled Rice's high-scoring Chad Marino, and Chris Cahill held down the fort in goal.
"My hat is off to Springfield," said DeMulder. "We had trouble with the wet footing and it took us a little off our game, but the best team won today. They also got a big boost from the large crowd. They were the 12th man today for Springfield."
Springfield had a quick start, taking a 1-0 lead at 31:44 when Nelson's shot from 15-yards away hugged the ground and under the hands of Rice keeper Christian Cook. Then the Cosmos went quiet and the Green Knights picked up the pace, tying the score at 7:26 when Marino converted a penalty kick.
Last Sunday at practice the Cosmos were talking about making the finals and Kendall said he had to put a stop to that kind of talk. Now the Cosmos can talk all they want.