by Ken Brown
BRADFORD – The Hazen Union girls’ soccer team got a crucial Mountain League win against Oxbow last week to secure the sixth seed in the upcoming Division IV playoffs.
Natalie Michaud picked the perfect time to score her first career varsity goals to lead the Lady Cats to a huge 3-2 road win over Oxbow last Tuesday.
With less than 10 minutes left in the first half, Tessa Luther fed fellow senior Caitlyn Davison at the top of the box and the All-Stater beat Caleigh Bean from 22 yards out to give Hazen a 1-0 lead heading into the break.
Hadlee Allen found the equalizer unassisted midway through the second half for Oxbow, before Michaud made it 2-1 off a feed from Mya Lumsden.
Ainsley Smith buried a pass from Natalie Spear with seven minutes left in regulation to make it 2-2. Hazen Union kept the pressure on the Lady Olympians and Michaud struck again for the game-winner four minutes later, with Craftsbury Academy’s (CA) Sadie Skorstad getting credit for the assist.
Ella Renaud made four stops on the day for Hazen. Bean made 10 saves in the loss, as Oxbow fell to 5-7-2 on the season.
“Oxbow pressured us early and controlled the first 10 minutes of the game in our defensive third. After finally settling into things, we started to respond and play with some intensity, stringing lots of good passes together in the middle of the field. The way we started it felt like we may go down the same path that led us to three straight losses, but it felt great finally have one of our close games go our way. Aside from our matchup with CCSU, every one of our losses has been either in overtime or in the last six minutes of regulation. Earning the win today was an important step for our postseason hopes and secure a home playoff game!” said head coach Harry Besett.
BFA-Fairfax rained on the Lady Cat’s Senior Night with a 2-0 road win on Friday, finishing up the regular season with their ninth straight win. Paige Cargil scored unassisted midway through the first half to give the Lady Bullets a 1-0 advantage entering halftime.
Reagan Eastman added an insurance with time running down in the second half and BFA-Fairfax’s defense held strong.
Renaud was solid in the loss, making 17 saves. Mikaela Tobey turned away five shots for the Lady Bullets, earning her eighth shutout of the season.
BFA-Fairfax improved to 12-2 and will be the fourth seed in the upcoming Division III tournament. Hazen seniors Caitlyn Davison, Tessa Luther, Sarah Collier, along with CA’s Sadie Skorstad, Savannah Boyce, and Sophia Augsberger were recognized before the match for their outstanding high school careers on the pitch.
“After conceding the first goal, the game was pretty evenly matched, with both teams having quality chances. We made a good final push in the last four minutes, but ended up conceding a second goal with two minutes left after Ella made a triple save. Despite the loss, we feel optimistic heading into the playoffs as we get ready for a first-round home game. The girls have been working hard to learn how to dig in deep and be the ones to find a game winner in these tight games in preparation for the playoffs,” said Besett.
Hazen Union hosted eleventh-seeded Richford on Tuesday in the first round of the Division IV playoffs. Hazen defeated the Lady Rockets 2-0 at home four weeks ago. If the Lady Cats advance, they will travel to third ranked Rivendell Academy for a quarterfinal match-up on Friday.