Deerfield Academy Junior A Soccer beat Choate with a resounding 3 – 0 shutout on Saturday, November 11th. Amid frigid conditions and set on a field that ended the game more mud than grass, the DA squad played together and with intensity throughout the entire match. The first half began with pushes from Adrian Yao ’20 and Eric Wang ’21, using the two man game to move past the Choate midfield line and setting forward Noah Depp ’21 for the first opportunity of the match. The DA backline handled the Choate counterattack again and again, headed by wise and stoic play of both veteran Alex Strait ’20 and newcomer Ben King ’22 as sweeper and stopper. After some back and forth play, marred by the difficult conditions, Tait Kline ’22 found a shot from the top right of the box that sailed up and over the Choate goal. DA keeper Crawford Rice ’21 swatted away each incoming shot in the box, and restarted the Deerfield attack time and time again. Even when the quick Choate forwards beat a Deerfield player, the boys in green and white recovered and supported each other, with Shane McCarthy ’21 and Tommy Leimkuhler ’21 both demonstrating keen awareness of each other and their teammates in holding down the line. Despite multiple opportunities, the half was called with the game still tied, 0 – 0.
It was a different story in the second portion of the match, however. Will Schoelkopf ’21 and Gale Gai ’22 worked together to force corner kicks, one of which curved straight to Strait, deep in the box for a strike that went wide right. Winger Ethan Chen ’20 found the ball at midfield, touching through to Schoelkopf, and Will sent it ahead again to Nate Zucker ’22 for yet another unsuccessful shot. Finally, the Deerfield pressure became too much: After continued strikes in quick succession by Kline, Chen, and Sam Lauer ’20, Connor Olson ’22 finally found an arcing shot into the back right of the goal to break the tie. Deerfield didn’t let up with their lead, as shortly thereafter Lauer found the ball again near the top of the box, assisted by Adrian Yao ’20, and bent it like Beckham into the top righthand side of the goal to make it 2 – 0. Continued back and forth play followed, as Choate found renewed energy, but the Deerfield team rebuffed their advances again and again. Eventually, an indirect kick from McCarthy led to a rebound corralled by King, who took a shot that just squeaked by the Choate keeper for the third and final goal of the match. The DA Jr. A team ended their season on a high note, toppling a well-coached and tough opponent for perhaps the best team victory of the year.