Richford Clips Chargers with Strong First Half

by Ken Brown

CRAFTSBURY – Richford used a strong first half to take down the Craftsbury Academy (CA) boys’ soccer team last week, 4-1, in the season opener for both teams.

photo by Vanessa Fournier | Cole VanWinkle (right) of Craftsbury passes the ball around Richford’s Jerrick Jacobs (#3) during play on Dustan Field Friday. In the background are Elis Fernandez (#23), Carter Blaney (#6) and Grayson McNaughton (#3). Richford won 4-1.

Richford did all their scoring in the first half to outlast the Chargers over the weekend on the road.

First year head coach Sam Jay has taken over a young and rebuilding program that struggled offensively last fall and admits that there will be an adjustment period as they figure out as a team where players will be best suited position-wise.

“It was an interesting first match and I thought the boys really played well in both halves, but we had all of our speed up front to start and Richford ripped us apart on the back-end and that’s on me. We adjusted at halftime and the results were night and day,” said Jay.

photo by Vanessa Fournier | Craftsbury’s Roean McLellan (#6) wins the ball from Avery Choquette of Richford during play Sept. 3. At left is Dalton Gravel. Richford defeated Craftsbury 4-1.

Sophomore Dylan Washer put the Chargers on the board midway through the second half in a spirited effort by CA both offensively and defensively. Jas Zendik returned in net for the Chargers with a strong showing after a season at U-32. The up and coming soccer program was ravaged by graduation and transfers last year as they went winless, while scoring only a single goal along the way. Jay sees a lot of athletic potential in his young squad but realizes that it will take small steps, like their strong second half in the loss to Richford, to rebuild confidence lost a season ago.

“With our speed in the back in the second half, the boys were able to build and push forward and they created some really nice chances. I’m really proud of the boys’ mental resilience and composure in the second half and it’s small victories like this one that we’ll use to build on. Were a small school program with a lot of eighth graders and freshman, so they’ll be a lot of fluctuation as far as success goes this season. We are exhausting every resource we have as a team to improve every single day and that is a testament to the kids. To become a blossoming flower, you have to start as a green little shoot and that is where we are right now as a team. We have a lot of talented young athletes on this team, though, and they are working hard to grow,” said Jay. 

Craftsbury is scheduled to travel to Enosburg next Thursday.