Boys' Soccer - Varsity
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For the fourth consecutive year, The Rhinos were victorious on Hotchkiss Day! However, the win did not come easily for the visiting Taft side. As expected the traditional end-of-season rivalry match was played with a lot of emotion and intensity. Physical defending from both teams kept the game scoreless through much of the first half. However, as halftime approached, Taft began to find a rhythm and eventually opened the scoring in the thirty-ninth minute when Charlie Shanks lofted the ball towards the far post of Hotchkiss’ goal. Oury Diane raced forward and deftly headed the ball past the Hotchkiss goalkeeper, giving Taft the lead. In the second half, a pair of free kicks off the foot of Sammed Bawa pushed The Big Red’s lead to 3-0. Despite the deficit, Hotchkiss kept fighting to get back in the match. Fortunately for The Big Red, Chris Murphy confidently handled long balls served into his penalty area while the Taft defense of Sebastian Mañon, Ethan Hindle, Jordan Miller, and Jayce Fraser shut down the Hotchkiss attack. James Donaldson, KK Baffour, and Benas Babenskas worked tirelessly in the midfield to keep Taft on the front foot throughout the ninety minutes. Towards the end of the match, Hotchkiss pulled a goal back on a set piece, but it was not enough, and the final score was 3-1 in favor of The Big Red. The victory over rival Hotchkiss capped an undefeated (7-0) Founders League campaign for Taft that saw the team concede only three goals in the seven matches en route to the league title. With an impressive overall record of 15-1-1, Taft earned the #3 seed in the upcoming New England Tournament. On Wednesday, The Big Red will look to avenge its only loss of the season, as the team will host #6 Berkshire in the quarter-final round.