In boys soccer: Chargers push past Red Devils, 6-0

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Caleb Paquette (left) and MaCaden Lyford (right) spent much of the afternoon in face-offs like this one.
Caleb Paquette (left) and MaCaden Lyford (right) spent much of the afternoon in face-offs like this one.  Photos by David Dudley

copyright the Chronicle October 8, 2014

by David Dudley

CRAFTSBURY — The Craftsbury Academy Chargers rolled up an impressive 6-0 victory over the Chelsea Red Devils, Friday afternoon in the Chargers’ final home game of the season. And what a Friday afternoon. The sun was shining, there wasn’t a bit of wind, and the sky was clear. Perfect weather for a soccer match.

Craftsbury sophomore Noah Coville led the charge with two goals and a bunch of hustle. Jeremiah Lasher, Mael LeScouezec, Austin Massi, and Josh Coville each pitched in with a goal each, to round out the Chargers’ offensive production.

Before the kickoff, the Chargers took a moment to honor their graduating seniors: Brandon Locke, Chris DelaBruere, Jon DelaBruere, and Josh Coville. In the spirit of sportsmanship, the Chargers also honored the Red Devils’ seniors, since this would be the last time they would likely play one another.

Chargers keeper Chris DelaBruere warmed up in the goalie box before the game began.

Chargers sophomore Caleb Paquette (left) looks to pass the ball out of the corner against the Red Devils' Luke Goodling (right).  Though the game was fiercely contested, the Chargers won 6-0.
Chargers sophomore Caleb Paquette (left) looks to pass the ball out of the corner against the Red Devils’ Luke Goodling (right). Though the game was fiercely contested, the Chargers won 6-0.

“I don’t want to touch the ball all game,” DelaBruere said, playfully encouraging his defense to step up their game.

But once the game got going, the Chargers were all business. Noah Coville struck first, as his free kick rolled into the left of the net, 53 seconds in, to give the Chargers a 1-0 lead.

Though the Chargers scored quickly, both teams started slowly. Each looked a little out of sorts, as they warmed up to each other. Much of the first part of the game took place at midfield, with the Chargers breaking through occasionally. The Red Devils had trouble keeping possession of the ball and holding the Chargers back defensively.

That led to a lopsided half, with the Chargers getting four to five shots for every shot the Red Devils attempted.

“We had a lot of trouble holding onto the ball,” Red Devils Coach James Blondin said. “When 25, 30 runs come at your keeper, of course the ball’s going to find the net.”

And find the net it did, as Massi set up LeScouezec for a rocket from just shy of midfield, to put the Chargers up 2-0.

The Chargers defense wasn’t to be outdone on this day, either. They played aggressively, forcing the Red Devils into a number of awkward positions. To make matters worse — from the Red Devils’ point of view — Chargers’ keeper DelaBruere was aggressive in helping his own cause, coming out of the box to challenge the threatening Red Devils, and poking out one shot after another.

Midway through the first half, Lasher broke through the Red Devils’ defense, then centered the ball for Noah Coville. Coville found the back of the net from dead center, as the Chargers took a 3-0 lead.

That success was somewhat surprising, given that Chargers Coach Mike Ruetz chose his starters from a pool of bench players — mostly sophomores and freshmen.

“I was able to get a lot of my younger guys in the game,” Mr. Ruetz said. “They really stepped up today. And many of them will be back next year, taking larger roles.”

The Red Devils came into the game with a single win and eight losses, so Mr. Ruetz’s decision seems less daring than crafty.

Red Devils keeper Tylor Harley snatches this grounder in the second half.
Red Devils keeper Tylor Harley snatches this grounder in the second half.

With those fresh legs on the pitch, the Chargers were going full steam. So much so, in fact, that they committed an outstanding number of off-sides calls. The offender was, more often than not, Caleb Paquette, who could be seen streaking up and down the pitch all game.

Red Devils’ forward MaCaden Lyford often met Paquette head on. The sight of these two players clashing in Red Devils’ territory was exciting, as one had to wonder which of them would best the other each time they met.

Of course, it couldn’t go on forever. Halfway through the second half, Lyford asked to come out of the game, due to fatigue. Mr. Blondin obliged, begrudgingly, as one of his better defensive players took a seat on the bench for the remainder of the game.

Though Red Devils’ keeper Tylor Harley appeared to be having a rough go of it, he really shone when the defense was charged with a handball, and he blocked the penalty kick.

Then the Chargers’ Lasher scored off Aiden Moffatt’s assist to give the Chargers a 4-0 lead.

The two teams went into the half looking like, well, two very different teams. The Chargers were relentless in their attack, and solid defense. The Red Devils, in contrast, seemed tired and still fighting an uphill battle. But they never gave up, and never let up.

The second half played out much like the first. Within moments of returning to the pitch, Massi scored another for the Chargers — extending their lead to 5-0.

Josh Coville scored the Chargers’ final goal, off an assist by Massi, to round off a 6-0 effort.

The Chelsea Red Devils' Luke Durkee looks on as his team loses their ninth of the season.  Photos by David Dudley
The Chelsea Red Devils’ Luke Durkee looks on as his team loses their ninth of the season. 

As the season winds down — at nine wins and two losses — the Chargers looked like a fresh team. Though the Red Devils looked tired, they played their hearts out.   They’ve had a tough season, winning only one thus far, and losing nine.

“We’ll keep working,” Mr. Blondin said, after the game. “We’ll focus on the fundamentals —passing the ball on motion, trapping the ball, and playing as a team.”

“It was nice to give some of my starters a break,” Mr. Ruetz said. “We had a rough game against Burke last week, and many of them came back all beat up. They needed a rest, before the playoffs.”

contact David Dudley at [email protected]

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