by Ken Brown
HARDWICK – The Hazen boys’ soccer team suffered their first loss of the season to Winooski last week, but rebounded with a huge road win against Enosburg to improve to 4-1.
Emmanuel Omar scored the game winner in overtime to give Winooski a hard-fought road win over the Wildcats last Monday. James Montgomery converted a penalty kick for Hazen with thirteen minutes remaining in regulation, but that would end the scoring on the day for the Wildcats. Jadon Baker found the back of the net on a beautiful twenty-five-yard bender midway through the first half, but Ayoob Musanovic and Ashbin Mangar answered to give the Spartans a 2-1 edge. Ethan Shopland kept the match close for Hazen, making nine stops on the day. Winooski improved to 4-2 on the season with the win.
“We actually played really well, but they are just so technical, physical, and tough to beat. We struggled with their speed at times and we will have to dominate the midfield against them next time to beat them. Ethan was fantastic again, giving us a chance to win,” said head coach Talan Bryant.
Isaiah Baker and Jadon Baker each found the back of the net in the second half to give the Wildcats a 2-1 road win over Enosburg last Wednesday. The Baker brothers did all the damage in a three-minute span after a scoreless first half, with Isaiah finishing a rebound off a Reed Kehler rocket to make it 1-0. Jadon made it 2-0 with an unassisted effort, his tenth goal of the season. Brendan Deuso converted on a penalty kick late for the Hornets, as they fell to 2-2 on the season.
“Reed and Ethan were phenomenal in the midfield and in the goal for us in this match. When Reed dominates the midfield like that, it sets everything up for our finishers and creators. Ethan once again kept us in the match early when they had us on our heels, but we need to find a way to take some pressure off of him defensively. We were on our toes more in the second half, dictating pace and possessing the ball. We have some tough matches coming up this week and we need to continue to have longer stretches of controlling the midfield to be successful,” said Bryant.
The Wildcats traveled to Winooski on Tuesday for the rematch and will wrap up the regular season at home on Saturday against BFA-Fairfax on Senior Day.