by Ken Brown
LYNDONVILLE – The Hazen Union boys’ soccer team split a pair of matches with Division II Lyndon Institute and North Country last week, putting their record at 5-2 on the season.
Sophomore Sully Laflam netted his first two goals of the season to lead Hazen to a decisive 6-2 road win over the Vikings last Tuesday. Gabe Michaud gave the Wildcats an early 1-0 lead and the defense was solid in helping sweep the season series. Fellow seniors Xavier Hill and Craftsbury Academy’s Dylan Washer each had a goal and an assist as they continued to lead Hazen’s offensive surge. Seville Murphy, Ari Jurkiewicz, and Damian Morrison collected an assist apiece and Grayson McNaughten made six stops in the win. Adam Lloyd and Griffin Lawson scored a goal apiece for the Vikings as they fell to 0-6 on the season.
“Our match against Lyndon was hard fought and successful. It was noticeable how much our team had improved since our close win against them earlier in the season. Sully, Grayson, Eliot Rosendahl, and Morgan Michaud have been our leaders on the pitch this week and we can thank Xavier and Dylan for continuing to be our top scorers,” said head coach Allison Paradee.
Brayden Pepin scored two goals and added an assist to lead Division II North Country to a 5-1 win over Hazen on homecoming weekend. The Falcons blitzed the Wildcat defense with four goals in the first seven minutes of the match, putting the home team on their heels. Xavier Hill found the back of the net midway through the first half for his team leading sixth goal of the season, but Hazen Union wouldn’t penetrate North Country’s defense again. Royce Lancaster added a goal and an assist and Gavin Rondeau and Jonathan Giroux also tallied a goal for the Falcons. McNaughten made 12 stops on the day for Hazen and Cam Gustin recorded three saves for 3-5 North Country.
“We were missing three starters going into the North Country game and the match-up was challenging for us. They scored four goals in quick succession, ultimately making it through gaps in our defense. We adjusted to find the players to fill the holes in our starting lineup and we played North Country pretty even for the most part the rest of the match,” said Paradee.
Hazen Union remains the third ranked team in Division III at the halfway point in the season, but have a gauntlet of Capital League powerhouses to navigate the rest of the way. Paradee is pleased with the way her team has come together to position themselves in the current standings, but realizes there are still plenty of challenges that lie ahead.
“At 5-2, and facing a tough schedule in the next few weeks, I’m optimistic that we will continue to grow as a team and play as close to even as possible with the highly skilled teams we will be taking on. We continue to tweak our game and learn strategies to adapt to the different formations, playing styles, and skill levels of the variety of teams we meet. I’m hopeful that with those early wins we’ve earned, we’ll get good placement for the playoffs and be able to continue to fight strong in the upcoming divisional tournament,” said Paradee.
Hazen traveled to Lamoille on Monday and will stay on the road against Division II powerhouse Harwood on Wednesday. They’ll wrap up a busy week with a matchup against defending Division III champion Peoples Academy at Hudson Fields Saturday afternoon.