Girls Junior Varsity Soccer Team captures first win in Hyde’s history, and Midcoast youths Kiefer Cundy and Wilson MacMillan lead their team to its 2nd Championship Victory
This Fall brought two exciting victories for the athletic program at Hyde School. On October 30 the Hyde Girls Junior Varsity Soccer team defeated Hebron Academy, a first time MAISAD championship win for the Girls Junior Varsity team in the history of the school. This past Sunday, in overtime against Loomis Chaffee School, Hyde senior Wilson MacMillan scores a goal with a head shot, clinching their NEPSAC victory, the second in a row for the Hyde’s Boys Varsity Soccer team, last year being the first win for the Boys Varsity soccer team in the history of the school.
It was a bright, cold day chasing the tail end of October, and the clock had just struck 3:00 PM when the Hyde Girls Junior Varsity Soccer team took to the field to compete in the MAISAD championship for a home game against tough rivals Hebron Academy. After a challenging game, with both teams bringing skill and spirit to the field, the final score came in at 2-0, with Hyde in the champion’s seat. Head Coach Emma Lobozzo shared, “The road to get there had its fair share of ups and downs with a mix of exhilarating triumphs as well as difficult defeats. What held the team together was the foundation of trust and the growing sense of family that was built up throughout our season.” Diamond Brown ‘16 believed it was this sense of community that drove the players: “It was the test of being a family. I never thought I would talk to many of these girls, but we formed a very tight bond,” said Brown.
This Sunday’s championship match for the Boys Varsity Soccer team was played at The Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Connecticut, on a pristine natural grass pitch under cloudy skies and damp but warm conditions. The excitement of the day was exhilarating as there were three matches being played in close proximity to each other. The best teams from all across New England were present to square off in championship matches for class A, B, C, and D. In addition to the eight teams that advanced to the finals, there were also two all-star games being played, the combination of which brought numerous dedicated fans and a significant contingency of college coaches who were scouting for players.
The Hyde boys struggled to connect their passes and build attacking momentum during the first 25 minutes of the game. They had a few chances to score, but none that resulted in early goals. Midway through the half, the Phoenix scored on a ball played in on a throw-in but the goal was called back due to an attacking player being in an off sides position. The score at the half time break was 0-0.
Hyde came out with renewed intensity in the second half. However, even with the increased offensive pressure, the Phoenix couldn’t find the back of the net. Regulation time ran out before either team had scored, and the game went into overtime.
With less than 3 minutes left in overtime, Hyde took a corner kick from the left side. Brunswick’s Kiefer Cundy`15 calmly set the ball, looked up, evaluated the situation and served the ball into the field of players. Like he had practiced numerous times, Bath’s Wilson MacMillan`14 executed his run perfectly, connecting with incoming ball on a solid header that went into the goal out of reach of their keeper outstretched arm to win the championship.
Head coach Randy Smith shared, “These boys had a remarkable season. They faced numerous obstacles along the way to securing their second consecutive New England Championship title. The Phoenix are known around our league, and now New England, as a team that can never be counted out; they find a way to win. They have demonstrated intense levels of competitiveness, outstanding sportsmanship, and stretched themselves to find their individual and collective best in a synergistic way. Both Coach Coleman and I are very proud of their strength of character, and how they play the game of soccer. These boys have grit. They are champions, again!”
Scoring the winning goal was especially meaningful for MacMillan who had just a few days prior to the game suffered the loss of his uncle, Paul Hurd, a faculty member at Hyde School. MacMillan played this weekend with “R.I.P. Paul” written on his soccer shoe. Of the impact of Hurd’s passing upon the players, Hyde’s Director of Athletics Jon Mellinger shared, “I am extremely proud of our athletes’ tenacity and toughness during a competitive tournament and managing the untimely passing of one of their number one fans.”
Mellinger went on to say “Championships of this caliber are true team efforts. Our coaching staff prepared the team at exactly the right time to provide our fans with the drama and excitement that make being a nominee for the New England soccer tournament fun. With limited depth due to injury, players from our developmental programs were called up to varsity to fill key spots and they rose to every challenge. Starting the season as the defending New England champion placed enormous pressure on our athletes and our coaching staff was able to share the weight to make a run at a second. Winning one New England title is rare; winning back-to-back titles is downright impressive. Congratulations to Coach Smith on winning his second consecutive New England title. Some coaches spend their entire careers to make the finals, let alone win, and Randy has won two in two years. His ability to keep a pulse on his team’s emotions is one of the best, making him one of our best assets around tournament time.”