by Ken Brown
HARDWICK- The Hazen Union girls’ soccer team avenged a heartbreaking overtime loss to Division II Enosburg earlier in the season by shutting down the Lady Hornet offense over the weekend, improving to 6-2-1 on the season.
Craftsbury Academy’s (CA) Sadie Skorstad beat two defenders off the right wing midway through the first half to power Hazen to a 1-0 home win over Enosburg on Saturday. Senior Tessa Luther put a perfectly weighted ball on Skorstad’s feet at the top of the box and Skorstad drove hard to her right, beating Enosburg’s Bethany Guyette on her near post for the game-winner midway through the first half. It was the fourth goal in five matches for Skorstad, who is fitting in nicely with the Lady Cats in her senior campaign after a stellar year with CA last fall that earned her First Team All-Mountain League honors.
It was a satisfying win for head coach Harry Besett and his talented squad after squandering a two-goal lead with less than two minutes to play to this same team three weeks ago.
“Both teams started strong and grew into a physical first half coming off our overtime defeat to them a few weeks ago. Enosburg was initially the team looking likely to score, but we were comfortable out of possession and when we were able to settle into the game, found some passing and possession in their half, leading to Sadie’s well hit shot to give us an early lead,” said Besett.
The Lady Cat defense took over from there, forcing Enosburg into shots from long range and Ella Renaud was up to the task, making 10 saves to earn her fourth straight shutout and fifth of the season. Guyette was solid in her own right, making seven stops in the loss, as Enosburg fell to 2-6-1 on the season.
“The girls stayed strong in the second half, keeping the game in the neutral third and not allowing any shots from inside the eighteen. Our defense was solid again to hold on to a 1-0 win for their sixth shutout of the season and fourth win in a row on the trot,” said Besett.
Hazen Union’s win streak has them pushing Leland & Gray for the third seed in the current Division IV standings. Top seeded Arlington, along with West Rutland, Leland & Gray and the Lady Cats, have separated themselves at the top of the division with two weeks left in the regular season.
“We have an opportunity to knock off another Division II opponent this week to try to break into the top-three in our division, currently controlled by the three top teams in Southern Vermont,” said Besett.
The red-hot Lady Cats will get that opportunity on Wednesday as they travel to Division II Missisquoi Valley on Wednesday. The Lady Thunderbirds are 4-3-1 on the season, with a pair of impressive wins over Division III power BFA-Fairfax and Richford. Hazen Union will stay on the road for a key divisional match-up with Danville on Friday. They wrap up a busy week against a stout 8-2 Paine Mountain team on Saturday afternoon at Hudson Fields.