Boys' Soccer - Varsity
Loomis Chaffee School
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Loomis Chaffee School
Loss 2-3
Taft’s spectacular season came to an end with a 3-2 loss to Loomis in the New England Class A semi-finals. The Rhinos competed with tremendous heart and played some beautiful soccer, making their coaches, parents, and supporters proud. After a scoreless first half, Aaron Skeene gave Taft a 1-0 lead with a fantastic strike from the corner of the penalty after receiving an excellent pass from Carter Veley. Shortly thereafter, Skeene found Sammed Bawa in front of the Loomis goal, and Bawa put the ball past the goalkeeper to double the lead. Mthabisi Tshuma battled through injury in an effort to help Taft maintain the lead, while Marvin Sibanda and Kevin Wharfe worked tirelessly to control the midfield. The young back four of Micah Umeh, Jordan Miller, Cole Torino, and Ethan Hindle showed incredible toughness as they defended a talented Loomis attack. Shayan Karimi made several outstanding saves on the day as well. Despite the deficit, Loomis kept fighting and found three goals in the final thirty minutes to complete the comeback and end Taft’s season. While the result was disappointing, The Big Red should hold their heads high for competing with spirit and class throughout the entire season. Looking back on the last few months, Taft ends the season with plenty to be proud of, posting an impressive record of 16-3 (7-1 in the Founders League). For the third year in a row, Taft earned a spot in New England Class A Tournament, and for the second consecutive year, the team reached the semi-finals, falling to the eventual champion by a goal in each of those contests. The program has reached national notoriety, being ranked as one of the top five prep school soccer teams in the country. The team began the season with a seven-game win streak, highlighted by convincing wins over top programs like Avon Old Farms (6-2), Deerfield (9-2), and Andover (5-1). After dropping a thrilling game to Berkshire, Taft produced another seven-game win streak, rolling to victories over Kent (6-1) and Choate (4-1). The team then closed out the regular season with a dramatic comeback win over Hotchkiss. In the New England quarter-final, Taft defeated Belmont Hill (3-2) before falling to eventual New England champion Loomis in the semi-finals. The offense on this team was prolific, scoring 92 goals in 19 matches, led by the trio of Mthabisi Tshuma ‘18 (23 goals, 11 assists); Sammed Bawa ‘20 (23 goals, 12 assists); and Marvin Sibanda ‘19 (15 goals, 23 assists). Carter Veley ’18 (3 goals, 10 assists) and Aaron Skeene ’19 (10 goals, 3 assists) added to this dynamic attack. Kevin Wharfe ’18 and Jackson Lardner ’18 were also key members of the midfield, and a young group of defenders – Micah Umeh ’19, Jordan Miller ’20, Cole Torino ’20, Ethan Hindle ’20, and Jayce Fraser ’21 – did an excellent job for Taft and give the program much to be excited about in the future. In net, Shayan Karimi ‘19 played nearly every minute of the season, earning 16 wins and 8 shutouts. The graduating seniors, especially captains Mthabisi Tshuma and Carter Veley, will leave an incredible legacy, and thanks to them, the future of Taft Soccer is bright!