Johnson, VT - The VTC Knight's dropped their season opener 3-2 to NVU-Johnson on Friday evening in Johnson. The Hornets found back of net a mere 77 seconds into the match beating the the Knight's down the right side and finding the near post. The Hornets struck again in the 23rd minute with a header off a corner kick. The Knights settled in at that point, and two minutes later Senior Captain Phil Hepburn off an assist from fellow senior captain Dave Mattern found the back of the net from the top of the 18. By that point the Knights back line, with leadership from Senior Xavier Robitaille and Freshman Andy Ruddell, were denying the Hornets quality scoring opportunities, and Freshman Goal Keeper Thomas Ferguson was deftly handling what did come his way. The first half closed with the Hornets leading 2-1.
The second half saw more effective defending from the Knight's backs and increased offensive opportunities. Senior Captain Dave Mattern animated a trio of central midfielders with tireless defensive play and smart forward ball distribution. The talented Hornets squad nonetheless put another goal on the board in the 49th minute. VTC answered with a second goal from Phil Hepburn, in the 70th minute, to again reduce the deficit to a single goal. Both teams traded scoring opportunities over the final 20 minutes. Freshman Substitute Connor MacGreggor joined the back line and was instrumental in keeping the Knights' in the game. Hornet defense came out on top of a few excellent Knights scoring opportunities, and Johnson held on for a 3-2 victory.
"We can play with anyone" said Knights Coach Matt Murawski after the game. He continued, "It can be tempting to find easy excuses when we're a small school with a young team up against a larger schools playing in the NCAA, like Johnson. But we are a talented team with unusually good chemistry and resiliency, and I don't think we need those excuses. I think we could have won today, and I think the players know that too. I expect this team, from this point forward, to out-perform our resumes in every match."
The knights have their home opener Sunday at noon at the VTC campus in Randolph Center.