by Ken Brown
ORFORD, N.H. – Top-seeded Rivendell Academy outlasted a determined Twinfield-Cabot boys’ soccer team in a tight Division IV semifinal match last week, ending the Trojans season at 11-5.
Derek Vogelien turned an odd bounce into the game-winner 14 minutes into the second half as the Raptors moved on to the title game with a 1-0 home win over Twinfield-Cabot. Harry Moles booted a free-kick from nearly midfield into the Trojan’s right side of the box where it took a high bounce over backup goalkeeper Dominick Hale and the Trojan defense. Vogelien was at the right place at the right time for the only score of the match.
“That was a hard match to lose, but we prepared well and matched up very well with that team. That was one of the boys’ most consistent performances of the season and I’m so proud of the way they played and composed themselves. Neil Alexander has been unbelievable for us this season, but he went down with an illness and we could sense that everything was a little different without him, but Dom stepped in and did a great job for us. They scored on a broken play on a ball that was really tough to judge into the sun and unfortunately that was the difference. We had two really great opportunities early on that we just weren’t able to finish. We had them on their back foot and if we could’ve converted on one of those, it would’ve changed the whole tempo of the match. I feel like we outplayed them over the course of 90 minutes and sometimes the bounces don’t go your way, but they have a really good team and the coach shook my hand after and told me that we were the best team they had played all season,” said head coach Peter Stratman.
The Raptors had their share of scoring opportunities as well that were turned away by the goal post and solid play from Hale. Rivendell narrowly won the shot battle 18-13 and Carter Bacon made six stops on the day to record his sixth shutout of the season. It was the fourteenth straight win for the Raptors, but that streak came to an end over the weekend as they fell to Winooski 3-1 in the Division IV title match. Stratman has brought the Trojan program to the Final Four two straight years and four times in his coaching career. He has turned Twinfield-Cabot into a divisional power, winning a school record 11 games two straight seasons. The program is 39-17-1 in his four seasons at the helm and though he loses T.J. Bernatchy, Franklin Castillo, and Declan O’Connor to graduation, he returns a highly talented group of underclassmen that have plenty of playoff experience under their belt.
“We will miss T.J., Franklin, and Declan. They have been significant pieces in building this team and culture and models of how unselfish this entire team is. We want to get back here and go farther, but you can’t focus on the result, you have to focus on the process, and this group does that really well. We dealt with a lot of injuries and adversity this season and it’s hard to believe that we started five or six freshmen along the way. I’m proud of how they grew together and fought through it together. This group is a pleasure to coach. They give 100 percent effort and they play with pride and have fun doing it. I look forward to seeing their growth next season,” said Stratman.