Hobbled Trojans in Survival Mode

photo by Vanessa Fournier
Sam Russell (No. 6) of Twinfield-Cabot and Winooski’s Nuru Mami (No. 6) charge the ball up the field during home action October 8. The Spartans defeated the Trojans 3-0.

by Ken Brown

RICHFORD – The Twinfield-Cabot boys’ soccer team survived a split last week with Richford and Winooski, despite being without most of their offensive weapons and depth.

Darshan Eddleman and Eli Russell supplied the offense and the defense did the rest as the Trojans eked out a gritty 2-0 road win over Richford last Wednesday. Eddleman gave Twinfield-Cabot a 1-0 advantage heading into the break and Russell provided a much-needed insurance goal midway through the second half. Neil Alexander made five stops, including a pair of crucial ones down the stretch to record the sixth shutout of the season for the Trojan defense. Oliver Pike made nine saves for Richford in the loss as they fell to 4-3 on the season. Head coach Peter Stratman was without his two leading goal scorers in junior All-stater Meles Gouge and freshman phenom Tej Stewart, as well as multiple bench players and starters due to commitments and injury. Eddleman was also lost late in the second half of this match after suffering a broken nose.

“We’re kind of in a state right now and we’re just trying to survive and fight through it. I never thought we’d be in a situation this season where we only had one sub to play in a match with 19 boys on the roster, but here we are. Our defense did a really nice job of scrambling to fill the holes and keep Richford’s quality scoring chances down and Neil made a couple of really nice stops in key moments. We feel for Darshan suffering that injury late and we’ll probably be without him for a couple of weeks or so as well. Hopefully this is just a rough patch we have to grind through, but the boys kept playing, executing well, and earned a good road win,” said Stratman.

photo by Vanessa Fournier
Twinfield-Cabot’s Meles Gouge (No. 5) keeps the ball from going out of bounds past Kitete Selemani (No. 25) of Winooski, while playing at home October 8. Winooski won 3-0.

Abdoul Lailati and Biladi Tresor scored a goal apiece to lead Winooski to a 3-0 road win over a depleted Trojan squad on Saturday. Janvier Mufaume added an assist and Ahmad Abdilah made one stop to earn the shutout as the Spartans improved to 6-2. Neil Alexander made six saves in the loss. In what was thought to be a premiere showdown between two of the top teams in Division IV just two weeks ago, turned into a one-sided affair as an injured Trojan squad never threatened a healthy Spartan defense.

“Unfortunately we knew going in that we just were not going to have the personnel to generate an attack against a high quality team like that. Overall though, the boys did a great job of executing defensively, they just ended up scoring a pair of extremely high level goals. I’m really proud of how our team played and kept their composure throughout the match and to compete that well against that team with all of our injuries was very impressive. Winooski is experienced, fast, and is a high-quality program that can probably compete in any division. The championship probably goes through them and hopefully we get another chance to match up with them at full strength. That is way down the road however, we have another challenging week ahead of us and hopefully we can continue to execute, stay disciplined, and trend towards getting healthier as a team,” said Stratman.

photo by Vanessa Fournier
Jola Otten (No. 9) of Twinfield-Cabot advances to steal control of the ball against Winooski’s Emmanuel Omar (No. 7) October 8 at Twinfield. Following the play in back is Cooper Bernatchy (No. 14). Winooski prevailed 3-0.

Twinfield-Cabot traveled to Oxbow on Tuesday, will welcome a high-powered Division II Hartford squad to town on Thursday, before ending the week with a tough road trip to BFA-Fairfax.