by Ken Brown
NORTH CLARENDON – Mill River ended any chances of the Hazen boys’ soccer team making a postseason run last week with a home shutout in the first round of the Division III tournament.
Tyler Corey provided all the offense for the Minutemen last Tuesday, scoring three goals to down the Wildcats 3-0 at home. After a defensive stalemate the first thirty minutes, Corey broke free to give Mill River a 1-0 lead at halftime. Corey would find the back of the net on counterattacks two more times in the second half to help Mill River advance to the quarterfinals.
“I thought we played a good match, especially in the first half with good technical possessions. We created plenty of opportunities, but their goalkeeper was just stellar and they used their speed and athleticism up front to capitalize on their chances,” said head coach Talan Bryant.
Hazen outshot the Minutemen 29-13, but Ty Dickerson was up to the task, recording his third shutout of the season. Ethan Shopland made 8 saves in the loss as the Wildcats end their season at 4-4. Mill River fell to top-seeded Vergennes in the quarterfinals on Friday, 5-1.
“It was a tough season to navigate through, but you have to feel fortunate that the boys were able to get any games in at all. Soccer is so psychological at times and our teams have always found a way to adjust and rally throughout a season, but 2020 was a smaller sample size and we never quite found our footing in certain areas. We have a good foundation set for next season, but we’ll miss our graduating seniors. Isaiah Baker transitioned really well to his new midfield position and Ethan Shopland kept us in countless matches with his stellar play in net,” said Bryant.
Isaiah Baker finished the season with six goals and four assists and Shopland recorded two shutouts. Bryant will also lose Cody Hall and Carter Bailey to graduation. Sophomore Jadon Baker will return next year after a breakout season that saw him lead the Wildcats in scoring with 10 goals.