The Harwood boys’ varsity soccer team capped off their undefeated season with a 3-0 victory against the second-seeded Woodstock during the Division II state championship game held at South Burlington High School on Saturday, November 3.
Harwood (14-0-1) took the field against Woodstock (9-3-1) for a drizzly soccer match. Harwood has been no stranger to inclement elements, as their prior tournament games have been cold or rainy.
“We created numerous chances early on and found the right places to attack versus a sturdy Woodstock defense. Despite weather and missed golden opportunities, the spirit and determination never faltered,” said head coach Joe Yalicki.
Harwood proved strong in their offensive game, getting the ball up the field quickly and dominating possession. The Harwood front line of strong seniors set each other up with quick passes to the corner of the field before crossing the ball over for a shot on net.
In the first half, Highlanders senior Wyatt Adams was ruled a penalty shot, where he missed the net’s left side by inches.
Woodstock offense also worked the ball, having their first shot on net early in the game. Harwood senior Max Hill came up big for Harwood with three saves and added a 10th tally to the Harwood shutout column.
As the minutes of the first half wound down, Harwood was able to find the back of the net with just over a minute left in playing time. Adams passed the ball over to fellow senior Charlie Zscahu, who scored, giving Harwood the 1-0 up into halftime.
The one goal gave Harwood the extra push they needed, as they headed into the second half fired up, ready to make their way down to Woodstock’s defensive zone once again.
Zschau, still hungry after his first goal, was right behind fellow teammate Will Lapointe as he dribbled up the field and caused a collision with Woodstock players after steering the ball. Zschau jumped on the ball and kicked it in a wide-open net, scoring his second goal of the game, 10th of the season, giving Harwood the 2-0 lead.
Harwood, full of teamwork and dynamic passing, kept the ball within their reach for the rest of the game. The third and final goal came from Lapointe, after it came off the head of fellow player Jesse McDougall, and would seal the deal on the DII championship game, with a 3-0 win for Harwood. Harwood outshot the Woodstock team 22-3.
“There is no way to replace the nine boys that will graduate, but for the returning players and any new players to the program, they have seen the buy-in, attitude and mindset it takes to be successful. I owe a huge thanks to the community who came out in masses Saturday, the athletic department for continuous support, the awesome family members involved and their constant positive energy, and most of all to all of the players,” said Yalicki.
Harwood boys’ soccer now holds six titles after previous championships in 1976, 1983, 1984, 1987 and 2007.
“Now they all get their name on a banner that lasts forever and signifies the 2018 undefeated state champ Harwood boys’ soccer team,” said Yalicki.