Randolph Center, VT - The Vermont Tech men's soccer team on Friday took a 5-1 loss at home against the University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK). The VTC Knights fell to 1-2-0 on the season, while UMFK climb to 2-0-0.
UMFK displayed the outstanding ball skills and disciplined field positioning that has won them the national championship the past two seasons. The Bengals overwhelmed the Knights early on, scoring twice in the first eight minutes. The half ended 4-0 with the Knights defense showing marked improvement over the opening minutes, but still managing little in the way of offense.
The second half saw UMFK back off offensively and focus on player movement and possession. With the attack less constant, VTC found their feet. The defense pressed higher, relying on the speed of Freshman Dakota Garrow (Randolph, VT) to recover when Fort Kent penetrated the back line. Knight's midfielders Matt Brien (Colchester) and Phil Hepburn (Hyde Park) settled in and moved the ball deliberately and maintained possession to an extent the team hadn't managed the first half.
"We had a strong second half" said Coach Casey Grimes. "Our defense got more organized. Our offense created more opportunities. We possessed the ball more effectively. To tie the second half 1-1 against defending national champions bodes well for our team going forward."
VTC gave up just one goal in the second half, a beautifully struck direct kick from 25 yards out. The Knights finally found the back of the net in the waning minutes of the game when Hunter Pockett (Proctor, VT) put in a corner kick from Scott Durkee (Tunbridge, VT).
The Knights are on the road Sunday for a 2:00 match-up against Southern Maine Community College, the first conference game of the season.