Offense Sputters for Shorthanded Wildcats

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photo by Vanessa Fournier
Hazen Wildcat Dylan Washer (No. 19) scored the only goal against Peoples Academy (PA), October 7. For the Wolves is Zander Waskuch (center). Other Hazen players following the play in back (from left) are Justin Montgomery and Kobe Smith. PA won 6-1.

by Ken Brown

LAMOILLE – Flu season is not being kind to the Hazen Union boys’ soccer team as they battled shorthanded in a trio of losses to Lamoille, Harwood, and Peoples Academy (PA) last week.

Ethan Rossi scored the game-winner to power Lamoille to a hard-fought 1-0 home win over the Wildcats last Monday. With seniors Gabe Michaud, Dan des Groseilliers, and Fenton Meyer out of the lineup, Hazen struggled to build scoring momentum from the back. The defense hung tough behind nine saves from Craftsbury Academy’s Grayson McNaughten. Matt Brousseau made six stops for the Lancers to preserve their third shutout of the season. A much-improved Lamoille program sits at 3-6 in the Division II standings.

“The Lamoille match was pretty even this time around as we were missing our three seniors, along with Morgan Michaud. A cold is sweeping through my bench and my guys are getting tired from our tough schedule and a lot more game time due to being down players. Grayson had a great game in goal and Ethan Gann and Eliot Rosendahl supported the team from the defensive line, doing their best to get the ball up to our offensive playmakers. We just couldn’t get the ball in the net, despite several chances,” said head coach Allison Paradee.

Zach Smith and Felix Kretz combined for four goals and four assists to lead high powered Hardwood to a dominant 11-0 home win over the Wildcats last Wednesday. Tucker Buffman added two scores and an assist as the Highlanders took a 7-0 lead into the break and never looked back. McNaughten made nine saves in the loss for Hazen. Harwood improved to 5-1-2 and are ranked fourth in the current Division II standings.

“We were again missing several starters going into this tough match-up. This year’s Harwood team is the strongest we’ve played in my time as a coach and they really are just incredible offensively. We had a lot of JV players out there competing and they did a nice job of adapting in the second half and learned what they needed to do to hold them off a little bit better the last 40 minutes. The boys left the field feeling like they worked hard and will learn from the experience,” said Paradee.

Aiden Slayton scored a pair of goals and assisted on two others to lead Peoples Academy to a 6-1 road win over Hazen Union on Saturday.

The Wolves took a 1-0 edge into the break and increased it to a two-goal lead early in the second half before Craftsbury Academy senior Dylan Washer made it 2-1 with his sixth goal of the season. PA put the game away with four unanswered goals from Jason Baird, Charlie Isselhardt, Brandon Gilbert, and Nick Pierce. Sam Stutz made five stops for the defending division III state champs as they improved to 6-3-1 on the season.

“We started really strong against PA, but started to fall apart a bit in the last third of the match. As the scoreboard started to change late, I think we got frustrated and they started playing even stronger. We have some work to do in our upcoming practices, but we are hopefully getting closer to having our full team back in the homestretch of the last two weeks of the regular season,” said Paradee.

The 5-5 Wildcats are still ranked fifth in the current Division III standings and looked to get back on track with a trip to Lake Region on Tuesday, before hosting Spaulding on Friday for Senior Night.

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