by Ken Brown
CABOT – The Twinfield-Cabot boys’ soccer team gave two-time Division III defending state champion Enosburg everything they wanted and then some last week in an epic Mountain League match-up where the margin between the two teams was no more than an odd bounce of the ball.
Ian Ross’ putback off a corner kick late in the second half proved to be the game-winner as Enosburg survived an out-of-division road test against Twinfield-Cabot last Friday, 3-2. There was some controversy and confusion around the play as Trojan defenders pulled up thinking the ball had passed over the endline, but Ross heard no whistle and streaked in to finish the ball into the back of the net for the game-winning goal.
“It is a good lesson to learn as a young team,” said head coach Peter Stratman. “Our defense thought the ball was out and stopped playing, but credit to Enosburg for playing to the whistle. It’s definitely a match we felt like we could have won, but we just had a couple letdowns in key moments,” added Stratman.
Freshman Tej Stewart put the home team up 1-0, burying a feed from Cooper Bernatchy 13 minutes into the match for his fifteenth goal of the season. Danny Antillon fed Landon Paulson for the equalizer seven minutes later. Antillon then fed Fletcher Bentley off of a corner kick to give Enosburg a 2-1 edge heading into the break. After some halftime adjustments by the Trojans, Darshan Eddleman buried a feed from Meles Gouge four minutes in to make it 2-2. Ross’ game-winner with 13 minutes left in regulation was the second of the match off of a corner for Enosburg. Neil Alexander made six stops for Twinfield-Cabot in the loss. Silas Kane made five saves for the Hornets as they improved to 8-1 on the season.
“Defending corner kicks was the difference in the match and it is something we’ll work on improving going forward. They are a very good Division III program, but it was an evenly played match and we were right there. It’s disappointing not to win, but the boys should feel good about what we are building here and how a top team from a higher division comes in here and doesn’t take them for granted. We did a good job of adjusting to the physicality in the match in the second half and it paid off early. This should be a confidence boost to the boys that they can play even with anyone in Division III or IV,” said Stratman.
Junior All-Stater Meles Gouge was injured in the second half of the match, separating his shoulder, and could be out a couple of weeks. Gouge is tied for the team lead in goals with Stewart. Stratman will be down a couple of other players this week, as well, as his squad readies for a divisional clash with powerhouse Winooski this weekend. As usual, he and his squad are looking only at their next match against Richford and no further.
“That was a physical match, and we came out of it with a couple of injuries and hopefully Meles is able to come back for us by the end of the regular season. These are always opportunities for other players to step up and lift up the team. I’ve coached soccer for a long time and any team can beat you at any time and so we are focused squarely on Richford. We look forward to matching up with another elite program this weekend in Winooski that has dominated Division III for a decade and now they are in our division. The road to the championship probably goes through them, so this will be another great opportunity for the boys and our program to see where we are at,” said Stratman.
The Trojans will travel to Richford on Wednesday and will welcome Winooski to Marshfield on Saturday as they recognize Frank Castillo and TJ Bernatchy on Senior Day.