by Ken Brown
FAIRFAX – After a narrow defeat to Division III power BFA-Fairfax and a thrilling come-from-behind win against Paine Mountain last week, the Twinfield-Cabot boys’ soccer team is trending towards playing their best soccer of the season down the stretch.
James Benjamin scored the game-winner with seven minutes left in the first half to lead BFA-Fairfax to a hard-fought 2-1 home win over Twinfield-Cabot last Wednesday.
Sophomore Tej Stewart put the Trojans on the board first, heading home a beautiful cross from Sam McLane 14 minutes into the match.
Unai Oliver answered with the equalizer for the Bullets eight minutes later, one timing a half volley off a set piece to make it 1-1.
Benjamin would bury the eventual game-winner off another set piece in the waning minutes of the half.
Meles Gouge nearly squared the match once again for the visitors in the closing minutes of the second half, beating BFA keeper Brandon Gillian top side, but his shot ricocheted off the crossbar.
Darshan Eddleman subbed in for the injured Dominick Hale to make six saves. Gillian made four stops on the day for the Bullets, as they won their sixth straight match to improve to 7-4 on the season.
“It was a tight game, with both teams playing with a lot of skill and composure. Both of their goals were tough, with us switching off defensively for a split second in both cases and paying the price. Soccer is a game of inches sometimes. I am so proud of how the boys played in that match. We’ve had difficulty finding our rhythm this season and this was the first match in a long time where we looked like ourselves,” said head coach Peter Stratman.
Senior All-Stater Meles Gouge netted a hat-trick, including the game-winner with four minutes left in overtime to power the Trojans to a thrilling 4-3 come from behind road win over Paine Mountain last Friday.
After a pair of goals from Cooper Hurley and Noah Orten put the home team up 2-0 midway through the first half, Gouge and Stewart answered to even the match heading into the break.
Hurley would strike again for Paine Mountain in the opening minutes of the second half, before Gouge answered back with 22 minutes left in regulation to make it 3-3. The senior All-Stater found the net one more time with the clock ticking down in the extra period to complete the comeback.
Eddleman made three stops for the Trojans and Liam Hebert made 10 saves for Paine Mountain, as they fell to 2-8. Gouge has been Twinfield-Cabot’s leading scorer the past three seasons and appears to be heating up at the right time for Stratman’s squad.
“Paine Mountain has played a similar schedule as us and is a solid Division III team. To be down on the road and come back to win a tough game like that is big for us and it felt good. It’s been a challenging season in many ways, but we’ve been gradually improving as a team in small increments, and I like the direction we’re going. Meles is a great player and he finally looked like himself this week. He’s one of those special players who can affect outcomes of games with his presence on the field. When he’s active and involved all over the pitch like he was this week, he has the ability to elevate the entire team around him. Darshan stepped in for Dom like the captain that he is. He has no goalkeeping experience, but he’s a phenomenal athlete and made some great saves this week. We have two big games left in our regular season that present another opportunity for us to improve our seeding. The boys continue to improve as a team every match and it’s a good time of year for us to be starting to trend in the right direction,” said Stratman.
The Trojans hosted Winooski on Monday in a pivotal divisional rematch and will host Oxbow on Saturday for Senior Night at Danville.