Wildcats Outlast Bullets in Home Opener

by Ken Brown
photo by Vanessa Fournier | Hazen sophomore Fenton Meyer (right) aims to steal the ball from Nick Badger (left) of BFA Fairfax Sept. 8 on Hudson Field. Hazen outscored their opponents 3-1.

HARDWICK – The Hazen Union boys’ soccer team made first year head coach Allison Paradee’s debut a success with a win over BFA-Fairfax last week before falling to Division II power Harwood in their first taste of the rugged Capital Division.

Tyson Davison scored two goals to lead the Wildcats to a 3-1 home win over BFA-Fairfax last Wednesday in both team’s season opener. The Bullets took a 1-0 lead into the break before Davison found the equalizer and the eventual game winner early in the second half. Reed Kehler added an insurance goal and Lincoln Michaud and Ryker Willett led a strong effort by the Wildcat defense. Tyler Rivard had a strong debut in net, turning away several scoring opportunities by the Bullets.

“Our defense was strong led by Ryker and Lincoln in the backend and their communication allowed our wingbacks to rotate really well for most of the match. Tyler had a great first game in net, putting his body on the line and giving 110% all the time. We had lost to them last week in a scrimmage, so it was satisfying to beat them in our opener, but a little bit of rivalry between the two teams has created a lot of negative energy that we need to do a better job of getting away from,” said Paradee.

Zach Smith, Jack Birmingham, and Nicolas Moran scored a goal apiece to lead Harwood to a 3-0 home win over Hazen Union on Friday. Smith gave the Highlanders a 1-0 lead entering the break, Birmingham made it 2-0 on a penalty kick midway through the second half, before Moran added an unassisted insurance goal late. Liam Combs made two saves to secure the shutout as Harwood owned a 16-2 advantage in shots on goal.

“They are a high-quality Division II team, but the fight our boys showed was impressive and I didn’t think the divide was that great between our two teams. Their third goal was legitimate, but the first two could’ve been prevented. It was a high-energy environment to play in and I’m really proud of how well we competed in our first road game in the Capital Division. We have a challenging schedule ahead of us, but I like our chances of being able to compete with these teams and we’ll just need to balance hard work and rest going forward so we can stay healthy as a team. We’ll continue to try and come together and improve to better athletes, sportsmen, and have fun,” said Paradee.

The Wildcats hosted U-32 on Tuesday and are scheduled to host North Country on Friday.

photo by Vanessa Fournier | Hazen junior Cody Trudeau (left) advances the ball up Hudson Field as James Benjamin (right) of BFA Fairfax follows. Hazen defeated Fairfax 3-1.