by Ken Brown
STOWE – The Hazen Union boys’ soccer team played Division 2 powerhouse Stowe down to the wire last week before receiving a bittersweet forfeit from Lake Region on homecoming weekend to improve to 5-7 on the season.
Adrian Bryan scored the eventual game winner for Stowe last Wednesday as they survived a depleted Wildcat squad, 1-0, at home. Wiley Barnett was credited with the assist and Brock Roick made four stops on the day to earn the Raider defense their seventh shutout of the season. Hazen Union suited up only 13 players for the match as they were without starters Cody Trudeau, Lincoln Michaud, Tyson Davison, and Aidan Neill due to a combination of injury and red cards in previous matches. Captain Reed Kehler and Jadon Baker were stellar in the midfield and upfront for the Wildcats and sweeper Gabe Michaud and goalkeeper Tyler Rivard turned away a mountain of scoring opportunities by the Raiders all afternoon to keep the match close.
“The boys and I came away with a sense of accomplishment that this was one of our best matches of the season, despite the loss,” said head coach Allison Paradee. “They played smart, strong, and with determination, proving again that they can hang with the best teams in the Capital Division. We were able to play some of our younger players and freshman Gavin Stratton gave us a preview of the strength, speed, and determination that will only continue to develop,” added Paradee.
Stowe improved to 8-2-2 on the season, outscoring its opposition 59-13 in the process. The dominance the Raiders have shown the past ten seasons in Vermont high school soccer cannot be talked about enough as they have amassed a staggering 123-24-15 record, while capturing eight straight state championships from 2012-2019.
Homecoming Weekend was dampened for Wildcat Nation when Lake Region was not able to make the trip to Hudson Fields in the eleventh hour. The forfeit dropped the Rangers to 3-9 on the season and gave Hazen Union their fourth win of the season in the rugged Capital Division. The Wildcats hope to be closer to full strength this week as they look to finish the regular season strong.
“We found out they were not able to make the match just as we were about to head out onto the field in a mock-homecoming that parents, A.D. John Sperry, and I worked to create. My team was more disappointed about not being able to play than they were excited about the automatic win. This goes to show how much these kids love to play soccer, it’s been an incredible season and I can’t believe we are wrapping up the regular season already,” said Paradee.
Hazen Union celebrated their seniors on Monday in a match against Lyndon Institute and will put a bow on the regular season at Peoples Academy on Wednesday.