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Brighton brings unique attack to state semifinals

4 goals this season for Barons goalie Christian Burkhart

BRIGHTON - Section V has been the champion of high school boys soccer in New York 44 times. Although they've won multiple sectional titles over the years, Brighton has never lifted a state trophy.

The Barons are determined to be the 45th this weekend. On Saturday, they take on Amityville Memorial (Section XI) at 9:15am at Mount Saint Mary College-Newburgh in the Class A State Semifinals.

Brighton enters the Final Four riding a 9-game winning streak that includes only four goals allowed. The player in-between the sticks may be the key to unlocking that elusive state championship.

Not only is goaltender Christian Burkhart one of the top shot-stoppers in the area, he also poses a threat on offense with four goals in the 2018 season.

"He's great on the field," said junior midfielder Nico Leone. "You can put him in any position on the field and he'll be fine, which is a good aspect for a goalie because we can pass back to him or he can take free kicks and offer a lot to the attack. He's like an 11th player pretty much."

Burkhart left the Rochester area at 13 years old to join Shattuck-St. Mary's, a prep school in Minnesota with a strong tradition of producing top level soccer players. He returned to Brighton over the summer for his senior year of high school.

The Barons have already lifted their first sectional title since 2011, and now sit two wins from a state title.

"We've got plenty of guys who can hit it any way they want on here and that's definitely a good aspect for us," said Burkhart. "I know I can put those balls in and definitely make it dangerous, but those guys are willing to work for it and get their head to the ball and create chaos in the box in order to get a goal, or get a shot, or get an opportunity."

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