Boys' Soccer - Varsity
Avon Old Farms School
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Loomis Chaffee School
Win 6-2
The Taft varsity soccer team traveled to the Loomis Chaffee School on Sunday morning for an 8:30 a.m. kick-off against Avon Old Farms. The match was the first of twelve prep school soccer matches to be played at Loomis that day as part of the Northeast Soccer Jamboree, a showcase of some of the best high school teams in New England. Nearly one hundred college coaches were in attendance for the event, and The Rhinos did not disappoint. Despite a 6:30 a.m. departure from Watertown, Taft was able to match the high energy and intensity of the Avon Old Farms side in the opening minutes. Early on, Avon appeared to be creating better scoring opportunities but the Winged Beavers were unable to cash in, and the Rhino defense grew more confident as the game progressed. In the 26th minute, Taft opened the scoring when Aaron Skeene played a give-and-go with Kevin Wharfe on the edge of the Avon penalty area. Upon receiving the return pass, Skeene drove the ball towards the far post, and the ball deflected off an Avon defender and into the net, giving The Big Red a 1-0 lead. Ten minutes later, a rare indirect free kick inside the Taft penalty area was awarded to Avon. Seemingly confused by the call, Taft scrambled to get into position to defend the set piece. However, Avon was quick to restart play with a short pass that left an Avon forward with an open net. He made no mistake with the opportunity and calmly slid the ball into the goal, leveling the score at one. Despite their frustration at conceding the equalizer, Taft responded beautifully just seven minutes later. Again, it was Skeene who found the back of the net, this time with a curling, left-footed shot that looped over the outstretched arms of the goalkeeper and just below the crossbar. Mthabisi Tshuma picked up the assist on the play. The first half came to an end only two minutes later, and Taft took a 2-1 lead into half time. The goal just before halftime proved to swing momentum heavily in favor of the Rhinos. Micah Umeh and Jordan Miller did well to disrupt the Avon attack in the second half, as the Taft offense exploded for four second-half goals. The first of those goals came from a lethal counterattack following an Avon free kick in Taft’s end of the field. After winning a challenge, Skeene found Marvin Sibanda, who played a through ball to a streaking Carter Veley down the flank. Veley squared the ball across the goalmouth for Mthabisi Tshuma who stuffed the ball home to make it 3-1. In the 66th minute, Tshuma got his second goal of the game after collecting a pass from Jordan Miller, beating his defender, and dribbling past the Avon goalkeeper. Sammed Bawa then provided two insurance goals – one in the 76th minute and the second in the 80th minute. Veley and Tshuma each earned his second assist on Bawa’s goals. Showing no quit, Avon pulled a goal back in the final minutes of the game to make the score at full time 6-2 in favor of Taft. Throughout the game, Shayan Karimi was steady in goal for The Big Red, and the Rhinos got excellent efforts off the bench from Jayce Fraser, Jackson Lardner, and Peter Horne. Now, Taft will put its 3-0 record on the line with a mid-week trip to Deerfield to face a perennially strong team.