Assistant Sports Editor
BENNINGTON -- Call it resolve. Call it youthful energy.
It appears the Mount Anthony Union High School boys soccer team has at least one of the two.
Four different Patriots scored Wednesday as Mount Anthony erased an early deficit and overcame a second-half equalizer to open the 2012 season with a 4-2 win over Woodstock at Spinelli Field.
"One of the things that I appreciated from the crew is, when they went down, they've got a bit of fight in them," said MAU coach Mike Molloy, who had to replace a dozen seniors from last year's team. "We did not start very well at all and they fought back."
"We fell into a couple lapses but I can't complain about their fight, their energy, their passion."
A defensive breakdown in the fourth minute led to the Wasps' first tally, as MAU goalkeeper Patrick Cody (four saves) collided with a defender on an aerial ball, opening the net for Connor McCarthy to score from close range.
But, 10 minutes later, the Patriots had an answer.
An errant header in the box fell to MAU sophomore Ethan Anderson on the right side. The winger wasted neither time nor touch, volleying the loose ball beneath Woodstock goalie Conner Fegard (eight saves) for the leveling score.
"It was just a play in the box and I just cleaned it up, pretty much," Anderson said of his first varsity goal. "I was just trying to come in and try hard, provide a spark, but it was good to come in and impact the game.
"It was pretty cool."
And less than four minutes after Anderson's strike, Mount Anthony had its first lead of the year on a highlight-reel goal.
Running onto a long throw-in that sailed across the field, junior Owen Page lashed a volley with the outside of his foot across the goal into the top right corner for the 2-1 edge.
Without Fegard's denial of Andrew Slade on a penalty kick 14 minutes before halftime, the Woodstock deficit could have easily been two goals.
"I think they were more physical than us, that was the biggest thing," Woodstock coach Tom Avellino said. "They won every 50-50 ball that I saw on the ground ... and I think we gave them too many opportunities as a result of that."
Woodstock knotted the score 2-2 three minutes into the second stanza on another MAU communication breakdown. Justin Forgione slotted in a dangerous, untouched cross for the Wasps second tally.
"We've got to work on communication," Molloy said. "We lost all five defenders last year, so I think they might not be confident in themselves as to what they're supposed to do. As soon as they start getting confident in themselves then hopefully they start talking it up."
But Mount Anthony delivered the go-ahead strike came with 12:22 to go, Marcus LaFlamme hooking a volley from outside the box into the bottom left corner.
Slade added a penalty in the 72nd minute to ice the win.
"We had a great result in the end," Slade said. "I think a lot of it came from the team effort, a lot of motivation -- the whole team was positive the whole entire game.
"[When] something bad would happen, we'd join as a group, put our heads together, and we just fought."