CLAREMONT — The late spectacular goaltending of Cardinal Cooper Moote had the crowd oohing as he was brilliant in net with two remarkable saves with the game on the line to preserve a Cardinal win.
“I do my best and support my defenders,” said Moote after the game. “They work so hard, I just don’t want to let them down.”
The Colonels made the trip to Claremont in long time and the crowd was treated to a great soccer match. With both Stevens (Division II) and Brattleboro (Division I) coming off big wins against Souhegan and Rutland, each team was looking to extend their winning streak.
The Cardinals were strong at the start as Dylan Chambers deep throw-ins and Moote’s booming goal kicks kept the visitors on their heals. The large defensive Brattleboro line struggled against the speedy forward play of Scott Campbell and Connor Miller as they both put pressure looking for a quick strike.
“We are an opportunistic team and we wanted to grab something quick and early,” said Stevens head coach Jason Stone.
The best bid for Stevens came off the right foot of Sam Dalke as his shot had eyes for the near side but was gobbled up by the Bratt keeper as the half ended square.
With Brattleboro looking to strike first, Moote made his first spectacular save with a one handed reach that denied a sure goal for the visitors as the speed picked up dramatically for both squads. Midfield play of Chambers, Luke Belisle and RJ Raymond tried to match the aggressive play from Brattleboro as the Cardinal legs began to tire. With Brattleboro gaining more time on offense, a quick strike by Stevens produced a throw-in near the Cardinal bench. Once again it was Chambers who planted a perfect ball in the goal area just as Campbell timed his leap perfectly. Campbell’s header found the twine to give Stevens a 1-0 lead with less than 6 minutes remaining.
“That goal was a big boost,”said Moote after the game. “We played so hard tonight and never stopped and my defenders never let up.”
With Brattleboro pushing players deep into cardinal territory and shots becoming more plentiful toward Moote, the save of the year was made in stoppage time. Brattleboro had six players in the goal area when a pass was slipped to the top of the box. A rocket was launched that had eyes for the top corner than Moote somehow leaped and, with his body fully extended, managed to get his hand on the shot to deflect it over the cage as fans and both benches alike were in disbelief.
“That kid is so good, he tracks the ball like nobody else,” Stone said.
With that huge save, the Cardinals regrouped and carried the ball deep into the corners to preserve an exciting 1-0 Cardinal win.
“This was a big, big win tonight,” Stone said. “We just kept digging hard and fought out tails off, Brattleboro came to play tonight and we took advantage of our opportunities and grabbed a goal when we needed it.”
Stevens (5-5) will host Plymouth(4-7) on Friday at 4 p.m.