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Boys' Soccer - Varsity
Loomis Chaffee School
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Win 1-0
With the Founders League Title on the line, Taft hosted the Pelicans of Loomis in a highly anticipated match-up between two of the best prep school soccer teams in the country. As is often this case when these two sides clash, the contest lived up to the hype. Through the first half, each team enjoyed stretches of possession, putting the opposition’s defense to the test with quick passing, dynamic movement off the ball, and skillful dribbling. Yet, despite the high quality of soccer being played, chances were relatively scarce as both teams defended with tenacity and organization. Perhaps the best opportunity for the Rhinos to score before halftime came when KK Baffour served a corner kick into the Loomis penalty area. James Donaldson headed the ball on target, but the Loomis goalkeeper made a spectacular save, as he lunged to his left and pawed the ball away from his goal, showing exceptional quickness and athleticism in the process. The second half saw more of the same – exciting attacking soccer stymied by unrelenting defensive work from both teams. The Rhinos’ defensive effort was once again led by Ethan Hindle, Jordan Miller, Sebastian Mañon, and Jayce Fraser, while Donaldson, Baffour, and Benas Babenskas all worked tirelessly in the midfield to keep Loomis’ potent attack in check. In the 70th minute Mañon drove a long ball from Taft’s own end to midfield, where Sammed Bawa rose well to flick the ball into space for a streaking Cole Torino. With speed and determination, Torino raced around his defender and slipped the ball between the goalkeeper’s legs from a tight angle for an exceptional goal, sending the home crowd into a frenzy. Loomis pressed hard to find the equalizer in the final twenty minutes of the match, but The Big Red stood firm, and goalkeeper Chris Murphy did well to collect crosses and long balls that the Pelicans served into Taft’s penalty area. In the end, Taft held on for a 1-0 victory and the team’s tenth clean sheet of the season. With the win, Taft clinched the Founders League Title with one league game remaining against Hotchkiss. While the Rhinos are certainly proud of this accomplishment, celebrations will have to be put on hold as there is more work to do right away. Taft is back in action Monday night under the lights at Cheshire Academy.