Heart-Breaking, Controversial Week for Wildcats

by Ken Brown

HARDWICK – The Hazen Union boys’ soccer team lost in the final seconds to Paine Mountain before walking off the field in the final minutes against Spaulding last week and conceding a forfeit, dropping them to 4-6 on the season.

Travis Robillaird buried a feed from Logan Amell with four seconds left in regulation to stun the Wildcats at home last Monday, 2-1. After a scoreless first half, Tyson Davison put Hazen Union on top 1-0 in the early minutes of the second half before Paine Mountain found the equalizer ten minutes later on a penalty kick from Caiden Crawford-Stempel. The two teams looked to be heading into overtime before Amell slid past the Wildcat defense in the waning moments to set up Robillaird for the point-blank game winner. Ethan Miller made nine stops for Paine Mountain in the win as they improved to 3-5-1 on the season. 

“Both teams were competing hard and making a push at the end and they just pushed passed us, created a good opportunity, and capitalized on it,” said head coach Allison Paradee. “It was definitely a disappointing ending to a hard-fought match, but it was just one of those cool and surprising things that happen in sports and, unfortunately, we were on the wrong end of it. We are still working hard at stringing passes together to construct good scoring opportunities and I’m happy with the improvement I’m seeing every match,” added Paradee.

Jon Jesmoth, Ian MacDonald, Tyler Glassford, and Ryan Glassford led a balanced scoring attack to lead Spaulding to a 4-2 home win on Saturday that was shortened by nearly ten minutes when Paradee took her Wildcat players off the field and forfeited the match. Reed Kehler gave Hazen Union an early 1-0 advantage midway through the first half before Tyler Glassford and Jesmoth answered to give the Crimson Tide a 2-1 lead at the break. Spaulding would swell the lead to 4-1 before Xavier Hill found the back of the net for his first varsity goal to make it 4-2. Tyler Rivard made 12 stops for Hazen Union and Matthew Redmond was outstanding for Spaulding, turning away 21 shots to secure their first win of the season. In a physical and loosely officiated match, Hazen Union’s Jadon Baker was issued a yellow card without explanation and with less than ten minutes in the match Tyson Davison was issued a red card for swearing. A Spaulding player was issued a yellow card earlier in the match for the same offense and when Paradee was given no explanation from the officiating crew, she consulted with her team captains and the decision was made to forfeit the match.

“We don’t condone swearing on the field as a program, but Tyson is a quiet kid and he said he was taunted throughout a very physical match. There were several hard fouls not called throughout the match and when my captains told me that someone is going to get hurt out there, I made the decision to take them off the field for the health of my players. The athletic director for Spaulding came up to me after the match and apologized for several dangerous plays that took place and for the officiating and we are appealing the red card on Tyson to the Vermont Principal’s Association (VPA). We are not perfect, but we’ve been working hard as a team to emphasize sportsmanship and clean play and I’m proud of my guys. We have some big matches coming up this week and we’ll really feel for Tyson if he isn’t able to compete with us in them. We will move on from this and continue to try and raise the standard for sportsmanship here at Hazen as a program,” said Paradee. 

The Wildcats are scheduled to travel to Stowe on Wednesday before welcoming Lake Region to town on Saturday for homecoming weekend.