by Ken Brown
BARTON – The Hazen Union boys’ soccer team bounced back from a narrow defeat to Lake Region earlier in the week with a satisfying win over Division II Spaulding on Senior Night to even their record at 6-6 on the season.
Liam Oliver scored a pair of goals to help Lake Region hold on for a 4-3 home win over the Wildcats last Tuesday. Oliver scored a pair of first half goals to help the Rangers jump out to an early two goal advantage and a 3-2 lead at the break.
Hazen’s Xavier Hill, Gabe Michaud, and Morgan Michaud powered Hazen’s offense with a goal apiece and Dan des Groseilliers dished out three assists to keep Hazen within striking distance.
Grayson McNaughten recorded 10 saves in the loss. Lincoln Racine made eight stops on the day to preserve the win. Lake Region played without its leading scorer Luc Oliver, but survived to improve to 6-5-1 on the season.
Hill continued to enjoy a fantastic senior campaign on Friday with two more goals to power the Wildcats past the Crimson Tide at home 3-1
Carel Paquin put Spaulding on the board first, slipping past Hazen’s defense on a long through ball to beat McNaughten with a great individual effort nine minutes into the match.
The two teams would miss out on opportunities the rest of the half before McNaughten found a streaking Hill with a booming punt down the middle of the field, beating a pair of Crimson Tide defenders for the equalizer with just three minutes left in the half.
After two near misses by Hill and fellow senior Dylan Washer to start the second half, sophomore Sully Laflam settled and finished another booming punt by McNaughten for a 2-1 lead with 20 minutes left.
Hill took a beautiful feed from Laflam ten minutes later, beating Spaulding keeper Matt Redmond coming off his line for his team leading ninth goal of the season.
Redmond made seven stops in the loss as the Crimson Tide fell to 1-11.
Hazen’s Dan des Groseilliers, Xavier Hill, Fenton Meyer, Gabe Michaud, Eliot Rosendahl, and Craftsbury Academy’s Dylan Washer were recognized before the match in front of family and friends on Senior Night.
The Wildcats are still clinging to the fourth seed in the current Division III standings, but have a pair of challenging match-ups against Montpelier and Stowe this week to wrap up their regular season.
“We recognize that we have two very tough matches coming up and that we will have to go into them knowing that if we play our best, we can absolutely compete with those programs. I have my seniors watching film on both Stowe and Montpelier this week and we are working on a couple strategies in practices to improve possession in the midfield and communication on the defensive side,” said head coach Allison Paradee.
The Wildcats will travel to Stowe on Wednesday and Montpelier on Saturday. The Raiders sit atop of the current Division III standings with a 10-1-1 record and won eight consecutive state titles from 2012-19. Montpelier is the defending Division II state champion and is once again the top team in their Division with a 9-1 record.