VHS boys soccer defeats St. Thomas More, Freeman Academy

Vermillions Nathan Samudzi (center) drives the ball between two Bobcat defenders Tuesday during the Tanagers game with Freeman Academy at Cotton Park. The Vermillion team defeated the Bobcats 4-1. (Photo by David Lias)

Its only August, but after this Saturday, Vermillions boys soccer varsity team will have only two more home games this fall, so fans should consider seeing the Tanagers host Groton at 9 a.m. at Cotton Park.

Vermillion graduated 11 seniors from last falls team but nevertheless got off to a good start last Saturday in a 9-5 win over St. Thomas More.

Fifteen minutes into the game, Nathan Samudzi threaded the ball through four STM defenders and into the left corner of the net for a 1-0 lead. Though they fell behind 2-1, the Tanagers regained a tie on Ethan James beautiful header on a corner kick from Andrew Kost.

Samudzi gave VHS a permanent lead with three more first-half goals. Tanner Settles started the second half with a goal for a 6-2 lead. The Cavaliers rallied to within 6-4, but Samudzi, driving downfield on a two-on-four situation with Kost, scored with 16:34 left. He almost scored again until he was fouled by the STM goalkeeper, who earned a red card and ejection. The penalty kick was converted by James.

One more Cavalier goal was answered by Samudzi for a final 9-5 margin. Alex Robertson, Tanager goalkeeper, unofficially had eight saves.

Four seniors, four juniors, five sophomores, four freshmen, six eighth graders and one seventh grader comprise the Tanager varsity and JV program, so there are ample youngsters to be developed into varsity players of the future. The JVs lost to a much older St. Thomas More junior varsity, 5-2. Tanager goals were scored by Michael Brunick and Joe Miller.

On Tuesday night at home against Freeman Academy, Robertson pitched a shutout until the final minute when a Bobcat attacker lofted a rainbow of a shot that got over Robertsons head and into the top of the net for the visitors only score in a 4-1 Vermillion victory.

In the early going it was a case of coming close for the Tanagers. A Samudzi shot hit the right post 10 minutes into the game, and a Settles shot caromed off the left post three minutes later. Moments after that, Ethan James beautiful header into the net was nullified by an offsides call.

But with 28:15 to go in the half, Settles started the scoring, and six minutes before the intermission Samudzi made it 2-0.

Just five minutes into the second half Samudzi glided along the right baseline and zipped the ball past the Bobcat keeper. As the half wore on, the Tanager offense kept applying pressure almost constantly, and Samudzi scored yet again with 15:39 remaining.

Robertson had an unofficial six saves, including a dramatic stop of a head-on shot by a Freeman attacker on a breakaway.

Kost, Brendan Raizola, Michael Brunick and Nick Britten are the seniors on the VHS club. Settles, Chris Lubbers, Robertson and Christian Wasley are the juniors. James, Samudzi, Austin Druin, Ben Houser and James May are sophomores while Matt Wasley, Sam Tigert, Mikel Giles and Blaine Bottolfson are the freshmen. Miller, Michael Griffin, Daniel Robinson, Brett Hansen, Alec Leber and Hussein Abdulameer are eighth graders, and Seth Druin is a seventh grader.

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