by Roger Wistar
An arctic wind that brought sub-freezing temperatures and snow at times did little to dampen fan enthusiasm as Hotchkiss and Taft battled to an entertaining draw on Taft Day.
On the fields in Watertown, the Rhinos enjoyed the better of the results, winning six games, losing two, and drawing three. But the Hotchkiss cross country teams raced to the rescue with a four-team clean sweep at New Englands to secure the 6-6-3 tie.
Kudos once again to Taft for being generous hosts at the event, shuffling games around to manage the torrential rains that had put several fields into marshy conditions. And as always, the Taft hospitality tent wins its own special prize for excellent in victuals.
For Hotchkiss, the two most significant results on the day were field hockey and girls soccer. The field hockey team (11-1-2) captured another Founders League title with a 0-0 tie in one of the early games. The draw earned the Bearcats the #2 seed in the upcoming NEPSAC tournament and home game against #7 Nobles on Wednesday. It will be the first meeting of the two schools this season.
And girls soccer (8-2-6) battled to its own 2-2 draw in the mid-afternoon. The team booked its tournament bid as the #6 seed and earned a rematch against familiar foe Loomis on Wednesday. The Pelicans were one of the six ties for Hotchkiss this season, a recent 1-1 draw at home on Nov. 7.
In other results, the two early games saw JV field hockey drop a tough 2-0 decision, while boys JV soccer fought to a well-earned 1-1 draw. The boys soccer team was one of only three squads all year to hold the Taft JV to fewer than four goals.
Despite falling behind early, the football team fought back to take the lead at 14-13, but ultimately could not hold on and lost 26-20 to a very talented Taft team.
The early afternoon provided two bright spots for Hotchkiss on the pitch, as the boys thirds soccer team and girls JV soccer rolled to two shutout wins, outscoring the Rhinos by a total of 10-0.
Taft would get the better of Hotchkiss inside on the volleyball courts, sweeping all three matches, and the boys varsity soccer game ended in a 3-0 victory for the hosts.