by Ken Brown
HARDWICK – The Hazen Union boys’ soccer team survived injuries, red cards, and lack of depth to tie Thetford last week in a thrilling comeback, before falling to a dominant Division II Montpelier team on Homecoming Weekend.
Lincoln Michaud led a thrilling comeback a man down with a goal and an assist as the Wildcats survived a 2-2 double overtime draw with Thetford at home last Wednesday. Jacob Gillman put the Panthers up 1-0, 13 minutes in, beating freshman Morgan Michaud with a left foot spinner inside the box. Dempsey McGovern made it 2-0 for the visiting team with a point blank header 10 minutes later and Hazen replaced Michaud with senior keeper Tyler Rivard the rest of the way. Lincoln Michaud gave the home faithful hope with a direct kick from 30 yards out that beat Thetford’s Bro Levitt with eight minutes left in the half. Cody Trudeau buried the equalizer with under seven minutes left in regulation off a beautifully lofted set piece from Lincoln Michaud to end the scoring on the day. Levitt ended the day with two stops as the Panthers improved to 1-2-2 on the season.
“Some draws are different than others and the guys felt good about this one a man down without any substitutions. They were tired after playing 100 minutes of soccer and a couple of challenging matches ahead of them,” said head coach Allison Paradee.
Ronnie Riby-Williams scored a pair of goals to power Montpelier past Hazen 5-1 on Saturday, spoiling any thoughts of a Homecoming upset. Noah Samuelson beat Rivard with a funny bounce off of a low corner kick to make it 1-0 Solons before Jadon Baker answered with the equalizer with five minutes left in the first half. Riby-Williams rose high above the Hazen defense to bury a header with a minute left to give Montpelier a 2-1 edge heading into intermission. Riby-Williams, Josiah Phillips, and Owen Lathrop would wear down a tired Hazen squad in the second half, improving to 4-0-1 on the season. Rivard made 14 stops for the Wildcats in the loss.
“Montpelier is a beast and I was proud of the guys for staying with them in the first half. Some of our freshman played really well against a fast and physical team in the second half, but we just ran out of gas. We are still struggling with how the physicality is being officiated at times, but overall we need to do a better job of controlling ourselves and keeping our players in the game. We have another challenging test ahead of us this week, but hopefully we get our full bench back and healthy by the middle of the week,” said Paradee.
The Wildcats matched up with powerhouse U-32 on Monday, will travel to Randolph on Wednesday, before welcoming Lamoille to town on Friday to wrap up the week.