Trojans Still Searching for Spark Through Season-end

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by Ken Brown

BRADFORD – Two-thirds through their regular season, the Twinfield-Cabot boys’ soccer team is still searching for that signature win to jump-start them after losses in two of their three matches last week dropped them to 4-6.

Andrew Barrett scored twice to lead Division III Oxbow to a hard-fought 4-3 home win over the Trojans last Monday. Matthew Corti and Jayden Huntoon also tallied scores for the Olympians in the win, with Reece Illsley dishing out a pair of assists.

Darshan Eddleman, Tej Stewart, and Sam McLane powered the offense for Twinfield-Cabot and Dominick Hale made three stops in the loss. Dakota Goodridge made 12 saves for Oxbow, as they improved to 4-7. Twinfield-Cabot held a 17-1 shot advantage in the first half, yet found themselves down 1-0.

“We had a frustrating day on offense and missed a lot of opportunities that we should have finished. It was great to convert three goals, but we lacked the ultimate focus to find the back of the net when we really needed it. Oxbow has improved significantly over the last few years and they worked hard to grind out the win. Their keeper made some great saves under pressure, but this is a match we felt like we should have won,” said head coach Peter Stratman.

Abdoul Laillati found the game-winner with two minutes left in regulation to power Winooski to a 1-0 road win over the Trojans on Wednesday.

Stratman was without two key starters on both offense and defense in Eddleman and Silas Robbins, but still battled even for most of the match with the Division IV defending champions. Hale made three stops in the loss for Twinfield-Cabot. The Spartan defense earned their second shutout of the season as they improved to 5-3-1.

“Winooski is a good program, but that was definitely a match we could’ve won even being a bit shorthanded. I think the guys came away from this match feeling that they can beat that team. I think a lot of factors have gone into our lack of consistency this season and there are no easy answers. We have some great leadership on this team, but the reality of us not having a home field to play and practice on is a real challenge for these kids. There is a feeling of displacement that as a team we have to continue to work on overcoming. We are not a program that makes excuses, it is merely a reality that we have to continue to work through and for me as a coach to find a way to get our players and our team to be the best version of themselves,” said Stratman.

Senior All-Stater Meles Gouge pointed his squad in the right direction on Friday, scoring a hat-trick to lead the Trojans to a dominant 7-0 win over Blue Mountain.

Eli Russell also tallied two scores and Eddleman found the back of the net for his second score of the week. Hale tightened up the defense with five saves for his fourth shutout of the season.

Stratman’s talented squad is behind the eight ball with two weeks left in the regular season, sitting eleventh in the current Division IV standings. The head coach still believes his team can beat anyone in the division on any given day, but time is running out for a program that has won 22 matches the last two seasons, including back-to-back trips to the Division IV Final Four.

“We still have opportunities in the next two weeks to build confidence and consistency as a team. This season has felt shorter than most given the circumstances, but as a team you want to be hitting your stride in the final third of your schedule. We have some challenging teams ahead of us, but we are capable of winning those matches. We have only had moments here and there of playing as a true team this season, but there are still opportunities for us to blossom and play the beautiful game we are capable of. Our record isn’t indicative of the talent we have on this team and it’s my job to make the team greater than the sum of its parts to get us playing at our best by the end of the season,” said Stratman.

The Trojans travel to a talented BFA-Fairfax team on Wednesday and they’ll stay on the road Friday for a showdown with Paine Mountain. Their rematch with Winooski is scheduled for next Monday at Danville.

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