Wildcats Play Well in Upper Division Losses

by Ken Brown
photo by Doug McClure U-32 Raider Shiloh Weiss is sandwiched between Hazen Union’s Ryker Willett (#12) and Lincoln Michaud (#16)

HARDWICK – The Hazen Union boys’ soccer team showed some fight last week in a pair of narrow home losses to Division II powerhouse U-32 and North Country, falling to 1-3 on the season.

Finn O’Donnell scored a pair of first half goals to lead U-32 to a 3-1 road win over the Wildcats last Tuesday. O’Donnell wasted little time, finding the back of the net one minute in to make it 1-0. He converted a penalty kick twenty-five minutes later to give the Raiders a two-goal cushion heading into the break. Lincoln Michaud blasted a long-range free kick four minutes into the second half to pull Hazen Union within one score, but what was deemed a dangerous play by referees shortly after would earn Hazen Union Jadon Baker a red card and leave the Wildcats shorthanded the rest of the way. Shiloh Weiss gave U-32 some breathing room with ten minutes left in regulation to end the scoring on the day. Tyler Rivard made 10 stops for Hazen and A.J. Moore recorded three saves for the Raiders as they improved to 4-1 on the season.

photo by Doug McClure | Hazen Union’s Tyson Davison and U-32 Raider Dylan Hinchliffe leap for a header in front of the U-32 goal.

“I’m proud of how valiantly the boys fought an amazing team even after being down a player for most of the second half,” said head coach Allison Paradee. “While the scoreboard may not show the results the boys want, they fought hard and held their own. They are still learning a new type of soccer with the skills we’ve been working on in practice, while playing some highly skilled teams in the process. They have shown great growth since we started practice in August and there is no doubt in my mind that they will start earning some wins in the Capital Division soon,” added Paradee.

Cooper Bruick scored the only goal on an intended cross three and a half minutes into the match to give North Country a 1-0 road win over Hazen Union last Friday. Bruick applied pressure to the Wildcat defense all day without success but found the back of the net early in the match when his intended cross from the left wing spun off his foot and floated into the upper right corner for the eventual game-winner. Tyler Rivard was rock solid in net the rest of the way for Hazen, making 15 saves on the day. Cameron Guston earned the shutout for the Falcons with seven stops of his own. 

“Both teams were very evenly matched, and it could’ve been our game at any time, but their defense was incredible. The boys are still working on making deliberate and complete passes to open up the field so we can maintain possession. We learned a lot from the match and playing strong and disciplined teams like that is only going to make us better soccer players going forward. We are a physical and conditioned team and I know how hard they work and how bad they want it. It will start happening soon,” said Paradee. 

The Wildcats will hit the road this week with matches against Thetford on Wednesday and Montpelier on Saturday afternoon. 

photo by Vanessa Fournier | Liam Jurkiewicz of Hazen Union traps and carries the ball up the field past U-32’s Sean Butler Tuesday in Hardwick. The Raiders won 3-1.