by Ken Brown
BRADFORD – After taking 13 matches to get into the win column last season, Harry Besett’s upstart Hazen Union girls’ soccer team wasted little time claiming their first victory in 2022 with a thrilling win over Oxbow last week in both teams’ season opener.
Freshman Isabelle Gouin recorded her first varsity game-winner early in the second half to lead Hazen to a 1-0 road win over Oxbow on Saturday. Gouin buried a feed from Tessa Luther into the bottom right hand corner of the goal six minutes into the second half and the Lady Cats’ defense made it stand up for a hard earned road win. Gouin showed flashes of promise as an eighth grader for Besett’s squad last season and could be the spark his offense is looking for in 2022.
“We had a couple quality chances in the first half that their keeper was able to save, but after some minor adjustments Isabelle made no mistake in the first chance she got early in the second half with a perfectly weighted ball from Tessa through their backline. After working hard all preseason on a new and more tactical style of play, I was very proud of how all the players executed our plan in the match,” said Besett.
Hazen Union played the match with only one substitution, but the defense was up to the task as Madeline Kaiser made eight stops on the day to record her first varsity shutout. Natalee Spear made five saves in the loss for Oxbow as they fell to 0-1 on the season.
“With only one sub for the match we knew we needed to conserve our energy on the field if we were going to have a chance to win. Our players stayed disciplined in our defensive zone and fought physically to win balls back. We controlled the middle of the field with quick passes to draw in their backline and then released our forwards in behind. Despite their fatigue our defense and midfield held firm to see the match out, not letting Oxbow get any quality shots off inside our box. It led to a great season opening win,” said Besett.
Hazen Union hosted Blue Mountain in their home opener at Hudson Fields on Tuesday and will welcome BFA-Fairfax to town on Friday. They are scheduled to travel to Peoples Academy on Monday.