On a beautiful early-fall afternoon, Deerfield soccer welcomed three teams from the Taft School. The DA varsity boys’ team, already struggling with early-season injuries to 5 players, hosted their undefeated counterparts from Taft; and from start to finish they performed with tenacity and discipline. Given the wealth of talent on the Taft side, the visitors maintained possession for long stretches of play; but they were repeatedly stymied by a DA formation which held a low line, defended patiently and skillfully, and sought to catch Taft out on the counter-attack. Centerbacks Billy Curtis ’21 and Isaac Abbott ’22 anchored the DA backline, while wingbacks Kade Goldberg ’21 and Nyle Kamil ’22 and center-midfielder Brendan Kish ’20 worked without respite to neutralize the speedy Taft attacks down the flanks and through the midfield. Only in the 30th minute did Taft finally score on a header off of a corner kick. In the DA goal, Ben Diffley ’20 was outstanding, repeatedly snaring high balls driven into the box, saving on several breakaways, and launching the DA attack with long kicks to the heads of center-forwards Skye Bacon ’20, Marcel Aziamale ’20, and Jimmy Goranov ’20. In the second half Deerfield continued to frustrate the Taft attack, and on several occasions came close to equalizing: captain Zach Davis ’20 twice blasted shots toward goal, first missing the goal narrowly and then forcing a save from the opposing ‘keeper; and late in the game DA almost scored when Achille Sarachek ’21 picked up a rebound from the ‘keeper and played toward his teammates rushing forward from the midfield. In the end it was not to be, and the DA boys left the field on the losing side of a 1-0 game. They were consoled in the knowledge that they had played a smart, effective and tough game against one of the very best teams in New England. That bodes well as the team prepares for Saturday’s match at the Kent School in southwestern Connecticut.