by Ken Brown
LYNDONVILLE – The Twinfield-Cabot boys’ soccer team made a statement in their season opener over the weekend, battering Division II Lyndon Institute on the road.
Junior Darshan Eddleman exploded for five goals to lead the Trojans to a dominant 10-0 road win over the Vikings in both teams’ season opener over the weekend. Senior Meles Gouge added a pair of goals for Twinfield-Cabot, adding to the two-time Vermont All-State selections impressive career total. Senior Sam Russell and sophomore Thomas Gouge also found the back of the net and freshman River Thibeault rounded out the scoring with his first career varsity goal.
“Early season games are about finding your footing and building confidence. It was great to see the boys start to move the ball well and control the tempo of the match. Our younger players all got game experience and did an excellent job working hard to adapt to the varsity level. We put a lot of pressure on their goalkeepers and both of them played very well,” said head coach Peter Stratman.
Senior Dominick Hale made one stop to preserve his first career varsity shutout for the Trojan defense. Hale is being asked to fill the void of Neil Alexander, who graduated early after a standout junior campaign that earned him First Team All-Mountain League honors. Hale brings a lot of varsity experience to Stratman’s final line of defense and liked what he saw from his unit in the opener.
“The back line stayed disciplined in defense and did a phenomenal job denying them many scoring opportunities. Keeping a clean sheet is a matter of pride. Ultimately, it was an important team-oriented win and a great way to launch into the season,” said Stratman.
Lyndon Institute (0-1) and their defense held tough for 40 minutes, entering the break down 2-0. Hayden Marceau made nine saves for the Vikings before leaving the match with an injury midway through the second half and the flood gates would open. Stratman’s talented team is once again a Division IV title contender after two straight trips to the Final Four. Eddleman had a breakout sophomore campaign for the Trojans last fall, pushing Gouge for the scoring lead along with freshman Tej Stewart. Stratman’s veteran back line, along with Hale could be the difference as they tackle an upcoming rugged Mountain League schedule that includes perennial powers Winooski and Enosburg. They will also test themselves early with a pair of out of league match-ups with defending Division III state champion Peoples Academy. Saturday was the fortieth win for Twinfield-Cabot since Stratman took over the program just four years ago, against just 19 losses. The talented coach has over 100 career wins during his tenure at both schools with multiple Final Four appearances and this might just be the year and the team that takes him to his first state championship match. They will have to overcome plenty of adversity and challenges along the way as devastating statewide floods this past summer robbed the Trojans of all home games this fall.
They squared off against Peoples Academy on Tuesday and will travel to play cross-town rival Danville on Friday. Twinfield-Cabot will complete their home-and-home series with Peoples Academy next Tuesday.