Wildcats Earn First Win in New Division

by Ken Brown

THETFORD – The Hazen Union boys’ soccer team snapped a three-game slide with a hard-earned road win over Thetford Academy (TA) before falling to Division II power Montpelier to end the week, putting their record at 2-4 on the season.

Hazen Union scored two second-half goals and used a balanced scoring attack to down Thetford Academy 3-1 on the road last Wednesday. Cody Trudeau, Aidan Neill, and Gabe Michaud provided the offense for the Wildcats, with Neill scoring his first varsity goal in his senior season. Tyler Rivard and the Hazen Union defense was rock solid again as they earned their first win in the rugged Capital Division. The Panthers are experiencing similar growing pains in the Capital as they fell to 0-6 on the season. 

“The guys know how hard they’ve been working and they’ve seen their progress in practice, so we needed that win in a big way. We know we’ve worked hard at being a well-conditioned team, but three matches in a row in the Capital was a little demoralizing, even though we fought so hard. This validated the work they’ve been putting in and it has brought us more together as a team. I’m proud of them in every match they play, but seeing them after a win is an entirely different feeling,” said head coach Allison Paradee.

Montpelier flexed its muscles in the Capital Division on Saturday, running away from Hazen Union in a 5-1 win at home. Ronnie Riby-Williams recorded a hat trick and Sina Fallahi and Felix Seiler added a goal apiece for the 4-1 Solons. Tyson Davison evened the match at 1-1 for Hazen Union eight minutes into the first half, but Riby-Williams and the homecoming crowd would take over the rest of the way. Tyler Rivard was solid in net once again for Hazen, stopping 12 shots in the loss. Jadon Baker returned to the pitch for the Wildcats after a two-and-a-half game absence due to a red card received in the U-32 match. Brio Levitt made one save for Montpelier as they improved to 4-1 on the season. The Solons defense has recorded three shutouts this season, outscoring their opponents 13-3 along the way.

“We were a little shorthanded going into this match and brought up three eighth graders for depth, but Montpelier kept us on the run for most of the day, so a lot of our starters played heavy minutes. Cody Trudeau assisted Tyson on a beautiful goal and Jadon was a welcome return and showed up in a big way for us. Tyler continues to be a presence in net with some impressive ups and quick hands. Opponents have taken notice how much smarter and more technical this team is playing this year and the guys are realizing that they need to play a different kind of soccer in this division to be successful,” said Paradee.

The Wildcats welcomed Randolph to town on Tuesday and are scheduled to travel to Lamoille on Friday.