by Ken Brown
HARDWICK – The Hazen boys’ soccer team scored an eye-popping 10 goals in their second straight match as they blanked Oxbow last week, improving to 3-0 on the season.
Jadon Baker scored his second straight hat trick and Isaiah Baker added two goals and three assists as the Wildcats handled Oxbow in their home opener last Tuesday, 10-0. Cody Hall and Reed Kehler continued their strong play in the midfield, combining for two more goals and three assists. Goalkeeper Ethan Shopland got into the action, as well, with his first goal of the season. Shopland and Tyler Rivard also combined to make three stops to earn the shutout. Freshman Xavier Hill finished the scoring on the day with his first career varsity goal. The loss dropped the Olympians to 1-3 on the season.
“Our combination play was really good in the second half and our awareness was excellent, creating opportunities with Cody Hall getting a lot done on our flanks and applying relentless pressure to the defense. Isaiah is doing so much for us in the midfield as well as Tyson Davison and Reed is setting up so many of our chances with some excellent play that doesn’t always show up in the box score,” said head coach Talan Bryant.
Hazen has outscored its opponents 26-2 to start the season, with sophomore Jadon Baker finding the back of the net eight times already.
“Jadon has a physicality to him this season that he didn’t have as a freshman and he’s finishing very well for us up front so far. We are starting to play some really good soccer as a collective group and the chemistry and the way these kids treat other kindly everyday is just great to be around. This coming week will be a step up in competition and more indicative of what we’ll see in the postseason. It’s going to take a lot of focus on our part and some mental toughness to battle the conditions as it gets cold and wet. I’m excited to see these kids develop throughout the season,” said Bryant.
The Wildcats dropped a tight match at home to Winooski on Monday 3-2 and are scheduled to travel to Enosburg on Wednesday. They will then travel to Winooski next Tuesday in what will now be a highly anticipated rematch.