Boys' Soccer - Varsity
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It took a valiant effort, but for the second consecutive year, Taft was victorious on Hotchkiss Day! Taft enjoyed the majority of the possession throughout the first half but was unable to find the back of the net as missed opportunities and resolute defending from Hotchkiss prevented The Rhinos from taking the lead. In the 25th minute, a Hotchkiss defender played a beautiful long ball that was taken in stride by their forward. His first touch put him in on goal, and although Shayan Karimi made an initial save, the Hotchkiss forward stuffed home the rebound to give the home side a one-goal advantage. With the Taft supporters urging the players on, The Big Red pressed for the equalizer, but could not find it in the first half. In the second half, Hotchkiss did well to get numbers behind the ball, and they defended with discipline and tenacity. In the 67th minute, Taft was awarded a free kick, and Marvin Sibanda stepped up to the ball. Thirty yards from goal, Sibanda unleashed a wicked shot that bounced in front of the goalkeeper and skipped into the back of the net to pull Taft level. The red mob of supporters grew louder, begging to see Taft take the lead. In the 74th minute, Peter Horne entered the match and made his minutes count. After receiving a throw-in, Horned played the ball to Mthabisi Tshuma, who quickly dropped the ball to Sibanda. Sibanda swung it to Carter Veley on the flank, and Veley drove the ball across the front of the Hotchkiss goal. Peter Horne, running hard to the goal, got a foot on the ball and tucked it just inside the post to give Taft the lead. Taft’s defense shut the door for the final fifteen minutes of the match, as Micah Umeh, Jordan Miller, Ethan Hindle, and Gabe Eliasson fought tirelessly to prevent Hotchkiss scoring opportunities. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Taft was able to pin the ball deep in Hotchkiss territory. When the clock reached zero, Taft supporters stormed the field to celebrate the victory. Taft finished the regular season with a record of 15 wins and 2 losses and ranked, by Top Drawer Soccer, as the 5th best prep school soccer team in the country. For the third consecutive year, The Rhinos earned a spot in the New England Class A Tournament, and this year, #3 Taft will host #6 Belmont Hill on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.