Losses Put Wildcats on the Road for the Playoffs

by Ken Brown
photo by Vanessa Fournier
Wildcat James Montgomery (#17) and a BFA Fairfax player clash for the ball as Hazen players (from left) Cody Trudeau, Tyler Rivard and Bruce Fortmann follow the play. Fairfax edged Hazen 1-0 on Hudson Field Saturday.

WINOOSKI – The Hazen boys’ soccer team fell to Winooski and BFA-Fairfax last week to wrap up their regular season at 4-3, missing an opportunity to host a home playoff game in the process.

The Spartans jumped out to a three-goal lead and never looked back, downing the Wildcats at home last Tuesday 3-1. Tyler Rivard buried a header with twenty minutes left in regulation to put Hazen on the board, but they wouldn’t get any closer. The win moved Winooski to 6-2 as they swept the season series from the Wildcats.

“They used their speed to attack our flanks really well. The guys played with some good intensity and we had our opportunities, but we just didn’t capitalize on them. They scored two quick ones and had us on our heels, but we settled down after that and played pretty well for the most part,” said head coach Talan Bryant.

BFA-Fairfax stayed perfect on the season, beating the Wildcats 1-0 on the road on Saturday afternoon. The Bullets cashed in on a nice counter eighteen minutes into the first half and would make it stand to improve to 8-0 on the season.

Hazen will be on the road for the postseason, despite all three of their losses coming in tight decisions to two of the top teams in the division.

“They were extremely physical and I thought we did a nice job of matching it, but it got a bit messy at times. Lately when we’ve gotten down in a match we’ve struggled to answer and that’s something we need to fix if we are going to make a run in the playoffs. I’m very happy with how organized we are defensively and if we play like that in the postseason, we can play with anybody. This is a good group who are technical, pass well, and good on set plays. If we can cash in on the offensive opportunities that present themselves in close playoff games, that will be the difference. I believe in this team and we are gonna go for it,” said Bryant.

Hazen traveled to eighth seeded Mill River on Tuesday and, if they advance, will face top-seeded Vergennes in the quarterfinals on Friday.