Wednesday October 10, 2012

ADAM SAMROV

Sports Editor

BENNINGTON -- Everything turned on the flip of the coin.

After regulation, the field hockey match between Mount Anthony Union High School and Otter Valley was scoreless.

The Patriots won the coin toss to get the ball first in overtime and took immediate advantage, as Makayla Farrara scored 19 seconds into the extra session for a 1-0 Marble Valley League win on Tuesday.

"Once we went 7-on-7 [in overtime], we could use our speed because it's not so congested near the goal," said MAU coach Laura Paro, who said it was the fastest goal to start a period in "recent memory."

At the whistle, Farrara found senior teammate Paige Harrington racing down the right side. Harrington dribbled the ball, beat a defender and crossed to the front of the net back to Farrara, who knocked it past Otter Valley (6-4-2) goalie Samantha Patch for her team-leading 10th goal of the year.

"I hit it diagonal so Paige could run up to it," Farrara said. "She had a nice cross and I was in the right place at the right time. She placed it about knee height on one hop ... perfect placement, so I could get a stick on it."

MAU got some revenge from the last time the two teams faced off, a 1-0 victory at Otter Valley a couple weeks ago.

"With the overtime rules, it's a different speed and strategy," said Otter Valley coach Stacey Edmunds-Brickell. "It was a quick play and we just didn't react in time.


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In the first 60 minutes, the Patriots controlled everything but the scoreboard.

They out-shot the Otters 8-4 and had 12 corners compared to three.

Looking for an ice-breaker, MAU had two close chances in the final two minutes.

Off their last corner, Farrara had a shot in close that Patch made a save on, then missed wide right about 30 seconds later.

"We didn't make the best decisions today and we weren't good on playing corners," Paro said. "We have to see where we can improve and start fixing those errors."

Otter Valley had a couple of decent chances early in the second half. The closest one came off a corner, when senior forward Molly Johnson blasted a shot from the top of the circle that MAU goalie Leah Holland stopped with a pad.

Holland made four saves for the shutout.

The Mount Anthony defense was up to the task as well, not allowing the Otters a shot on goal until there was 8:29 left in the first half.

"MAU is a good team, we can't feel bad losing to a good team," Edmunds-Brickell said.

The Patriots have won three straight games and four of the last five.

They sit at 7-4, tied for the No. 4 seed in Division I with Burlington.

"It was hard to start 3-0 and then lose three in a row," Farrara said. "We've been working hard in practice and we want to keep pushing as much as we can."

MAU is scheduled to face Emma Willard on Friday.