WILMINGTON -- The Wildcats have made history before, and now they have done it again.
The Twin Valley boys soccer team hosted Windsor on Senior Night and beat them 10-0, earning their 13th win and 12th shutout of the season, shattering the school’s previous record, to position themselves as the top seed entering the Division IV playoffs.
Twin Valley coach Buddy Hayford gave a brief speech before Wednesday’s contest to thank parents of the seniors who play on the team, for their commitment to the Wildcats cause.
And there was plenty cause for celebration. Especially if you were a senior, who on the Twin Valley team includes Keegan Reed, Jeremy Hunt, Dylan Johnson, Dal Nesbitt, Cade Nesbitt, Colin Lozito, and Eli Park. The squad of seven were all acknowledged by classmates, alumni, and hundreds in attendance.
Dal Nesbitt completed a hat trick and had two assists, Colin Lozito scored twice and had three assists, Nick Nilsen put away a pair, Morrow Bernard buried a shot in the second, and Jacob Hicks had the final goal with a header from the corner to give the hosts the victory.
Troy Felisko opened up the Wildcats’ scoring streak with a quick footed goal seven minutes into play.
Nesbitt received a pass from his brother, Cade Nesbitt, on an early attack, to score the team’s second goal a minute later.
Lozito and Nilsen kept in front of the Yellowjackets’ net, charging in to pick up loose balls that rolled across the zone, and booting them at the visiting goalie until their shots sailed in.
Someone in the crowd sounded a siren after each TV goal.
Three minutes after Nesbitt’s make, Lozito cut through the box, after a Hank Sweeney toss-in, and used the side of his foot to make it 2-0. Nilsen would score the team’s third goal 10 minutes later.
"It’s what Lozito and I have been doing all season," said Nesbitt. "We played a lot of through balls. It worked."
Nilsen would score his second on a tap-in, with 19 minutes left in the opening half. He and Nesbitt, with a feed from Keegan Reed, would each score once more, before the break, to make it 6-0 at the half.
Nesbitt and Lozito would team up again during the second half to score a goal apiece within minutes of the start, assisting each other on the separate strikes.
In the backfield, Eli Park and Oscar Smith disrupted Windsor’s chances at scoring easily, and keeper Sam Molner’s quick reactions made it almost impossible. But hey, that’s been the team’s story concerning their defense all along.
Bernard booted the ball in from the outside and put it off the pipe. It bounced right back at him, so he took another shot on goal, and that one found its way in. The Hicks header was made possible with help from Bernard.
But there was further cause for celebration. That being, it was Hayford’s 500th game of his career. The veteran coach has been with the Wildcats for 32 years, and has seen them through six championships.
Many of the players weren’t even aware of that fact until after the game.
"I think we’ve got pretty much what we want to do worked out," said Nesbitt, about the upcoming tournament. "Buddy’s the best. Couldn’t ask for a better coach. The assistants are awesome too."
Hayford shares the star senior’s sentiment.
"I thought we had some really pretty goals tonight," said Hayford. "Which was encouraging. Getting into the tournament, we want to be sharp. We’re healthy. We’re scoring goals, and not giving up any. It’s a good combination."
The unbeaten Wildcats will play the last game of their regular season at Otter Valley today at 4 p.m.
David Aquino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 164.