Wildcats Edge Vikings, Improve to 2-0

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photo by Vanessa Fournier
Xavier Hill runs the ball toward the goal past a Lyndon Institute player as Jeter Demers runs with the play during action September 9. Hazen took the victory 2-1.

by Ken Brown

HARDWICK – The Hazen Union boys’ soccer team survived an upstart Lyndon Institute team over the weekend to improve to 2-0 on the season.

Craftsbury Academy’s (CA) Dylan Washer finished a cross from Ari Jurkiewicz in the final minutes of regulation to help the Wildcats edge the Vikings at home on Saturday 2-1. Hazen put pressure on the Viking defense all match, but saw several shots sail wide before Jurkiewicz settled a loose ball from the right wing and found a streaking Washer for the game-winner with under two minutes left to play.

“Unfortunately on Saturday we had a lot of missed opportunities for goals. The boys did a nice job of putting a lot of good balls in the box or on goal, but we just weren’t doing a great job of crashing the net when those shots were executed. Overall I’m really pleased with how well they’re starting to move the ball up the field with more touches and getting it to the goal to create more opportunities to score,” said head coach Allison Paradee.

Senior Xavier Hill notched his second goal of the season five minutes into the match, rocketing a half-volley from Washer at the top of the box into the upper right corner for a 1-0 Wildcat lead. Hill, Washer, and fellow senior Fenton Meyer narrowly missed a handful of other opportunities in the first 20 minutes of action to break the match open early for the home team. Lyndon took advantage and found the equalizer midway through the first half when Rafael Briseno settled a goal kick and streaked down the right side of the field. He found Adam Lloyd on a perfect cross and Lloyd beat Grayson McNaughten, who came off his line and found himself in no man’s land. McNaughten is in his first season with the Wildcats after a stellar freshman campaign in net for CA. He made four stops on the day in the win. Lyndon’s Angel Lockwood made 12 saves for Lyndon as they fell to 0-2 on the season.

“It’s a great start to the season as we continue to create chemistry and build a team that focuses on the tactical side of the game. We’ll continue to work on communication, accurate finishes, and making sure the gap between our defensive line and offensive line gets filled more quickly, so we don’t have to rely on big kicks to get it up there all the time,” said Paradee.

The Wildcats hosted Division IV power Blue Mountain on Tuesday and will get their stiffest test of the young season when Division II U-32 comes to town on Thursday. The Raiders won 13 matches last fall and are 42-23-4 over the past five seasons, with a pair of trips to the Final Four.

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