by Ken Brown
HARDWICK – The Hazen Union girls’ soccer team will have a new look this fall after graduating four key seniors from an underdog squad that won three playoff games last season before narrowly falling to an undefeated Proctor team in the Division IV state title match.
Head coach Harry Besett enters his third season at the helm and will have some holes to fill this fall after losing his top goal scorer the last two years in Macy Molleur and star goalkeeper Alleigh Gabaree. Both were all-state selections, with Molleur being named to the Vermont Lions Twin State squad this past summer as one of the top seniors in the state. Madison Bartlett and Natalie Geoffroy were also pivotal seniors for Besett, earning All-Mountain League honors. He does return a talented core of underclassmen, however, with five returning juniors who he calls the “spine” of the team.
“Lily Castle and Beth Conway are back to anchor our defense and that should allow Maverick Murphy, Alexis Christensen, and Gabby Stanciu freedom to play creatively in the center of the field. They were all part of the playoff run last season and with no seniors on the squad this season we’ll be lacking a little experience, but our stalwart defense should take a lot of pressure off our freshman goalkeeper,” said Besett.
Besett also returns a group of talented sophomores and freshman, including Caitlyn Davison, who rejoins the program after a year at Division II Spaulding. With no seniors on the team this season, Besett admits they might be lacking in physicality against more veteran squads, but he believes they will be up to the challenge after having last season under their belt.
“Caitlyn has already developed strong chemistry from her attacking midfielder position with returning forwards Tessa Luther and Natalie Michaud. This connection will be key as we attempt to replace the wealth of goals scored and assisted last year by Macy and Madison. Last year was a dream Cinderella run and we will be hoping for another successful season, but we will need to figure out how to do so with a reinvented squad,” added Besett.
The Lady Cats will kick-off the season at home against Oxbow on Saturday before traveling to Blue Mountain for their first road test next Tuesday.