by Ken Brown
CRAFTSBURY – The Craftsbury Academy (CA) boys’ soccer team swept Oxbow in a home-and-home series last week for their first two wins of the season under new head coach Sam Jay, improving to 2-3 on the season.
Cole VanWinkle scored twice to lead the Chargers to a 2-0 home win over Oxbow last Tuesday. Jas Zendik continued his stellar play in net for Craftsbury to earn the shutout, dropping the Olympians to 1-5 on the season. It was the first win for the Charger soccer program since a 2019 first round upset of Twinfield/Cabot in the Division IV playoffs.
“The boys deserve all the credit for their hard work, determination, and mental toughness. Cole was exceptional and has a wonderful attitude, composed demeanor, and excellent physicality. The improvement of the defense is our biggest achievement of the season so far and it has demanded collective improvements in the core of our team. Dylan Washer and Dalton Gravel have a thankless job of protecting our back line that demands bravery, fitness, communication, and leadership. Greyson VanWinkle, Blair Locke, Adrian Crytzer, and Roen Mclellan have molded to form a strong and powerful defensive line that is showing so much potential and Jas has just been truly exceptional for us in goal all season,” said Jay.
Cole VanWinkle continued his scoring barrage, recording a hat trick as the Chargers completed the series sweep of Oxbow on Friday with a 3-1 road win. VanWinkle has emerged as a main scoring threat for Craftsbury, finding the back of the net seven times in his last three matches. Zendik and the defense was up to the task again, keeping the Olympians at bay all afternoon.
“Cole has worked incredibly hard in training to gauge how he can have the biggest impact on matches and his success is a testament to his excellent attitude and incredible work ethic. His success is a model for some of our younger players who have struggled with injuries this season but share the same great attitude and understanding of the game. Jas and our defense were exceptional again and I hope colleges take notice of a player that is probably the best in the state right now between the goalposts. Over these two matches we have showed the exact qualities I’ve been asking for collectively. We have to do certain things as a team in order to compete and if everyone performs to a high level we’ve been able to show that we can,” said Jay.
The Chargers were scheduled to host Division III power Enosburg on Tuesday and will welcome Twinfield-Cabot to town next Monday on Senior Day.