Sports

Raiders Hand Wildcats First Loss

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photo by Vanessa Fournier
Hazen Union sophomore Sullivan Laflam (No. 15) looks to pass as Braden O’Donnell (left) of U-32 and Wildcat Jeter Demers (back left) follow during play on Hudson Field September 14. At right in back is Noah Kopsco of the Raiders. U-32 outscored Hazen Union 7-2.

by Ken Brown

HARDWICK – Division II powerhouse U-32 scored three late goals to break open a tight match to hand the Hazen Union boys’ soccer team their first loss of the season last week.

Shiloh Weiss scored twice and Luke Page tallied a goal and a pair of assists to lead the Raiders to a decisive 7-2 road win over the Wildcats last Thursday.

Weiss wasted little time getting the visiting team on the scoreboard, finding the back of the net to make it 1-0 two minutes in.

Page fed Caedin Bodach-Turner six minutes later for his second assist for a 2-0 lead. Page made it 3-0 with a goal of his own at the eleven-minute mark for the visitors and it looked like the rout was on.

Senior Fenton Meyer answered for Hazen less than a minute later, burying a perfect through-ball from Craftsbury Academy’s Dylan Washer. It was Meyer’s first goal in over two years after missing all of the 2022 season.

photo by Vanessa Fournier
Hazen Union ninth-grader Manny Fleigelman (No. 18) sprints ahead of a U-32 opponent for control of the ball during play in Hardwick Thursday. The Raiders won 7-2.

“We were down three starters in Xavier Hill, Gabe Michaud, and Morgan Michaud. After we adjusted to their pace early on, I was impressed with how even we played a team of that caliber for a good chunk of the match,” said head coach Allison Paradee.

Tyrin Holloway scored his first varsity goal to make it 4-1 Raiders midway through the second half.

Washer answered with his third goal of the season for Hazen with a header five minutes later to cut it back to a two-goal deficit.

After several brilliant stops for the Wildcats from Craftsbury Academy’s Grayson McNaughten, the Raiders wore down the Hazen Union defense with late tallies from Weiss, Clark, Ben Clark, and Maddox Heise to put the match away.

McNaughten made nine stops on the day and Cole Pittsley made three saves for U-32 as they improved to 3-0-1. The Raiders have outscored their opponents 16-4 on the season behind six goals from Weiss in their last three matches. Coming off a 13-win season in 2022, the Raiders are once again a Division II title contender and will look to make their third Final Four in six years later this fall.

“I was able to play all of my players and each one of them did a great job of holding their own. The final score didn’t reflect the effort my team put in and how hard we made U-32 work. I was immensely proud of them, and for the most part, they were proud of themselves,” said Paradee.

Paradee is pleased with the promise shown early on this season from her team with the CA additions of Washer and McNaughten, as well as the emergence of young talent and senior leadership. She is even more pleased with her team’s display of fair play and sportsmanship. Hazen has zero yellow or red cards assessed to their players through the first three matches of the season after being among the leaders in fouls committed in all of Vermont high school soccer the past two years.

“Fouls have been minimal and five matches in, including two scrimmages, we haven’t received a single card. The boys recognize not only my standards for sportsmanship and playing clean, but how the game has changed in the past few years, especially competing with highly skilled teams that are in the Capital League,” said Paradee.

The Wildcats will look to get back to their winning ways with a trip to Thetford Academy on Wednesday.

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