Assistant Sports Editor
BENNINGTON -- When the going got tough, Mount Anthony Union High School senior Gabby Loomis stopped thinking.
Well, about the pressure, anyway.
With time expired in the second half of a 1-1 contest between the fourth-seeded Patriots and fifth-seeded Rutland Raiders, Loomis re-directed a pass from fellow senior Makayla Farrara into the back of the Rutland cage, giving the Patriots a 2-1 walk-off win in the quarterfinals of the Vermont Division I tournament.
"I thought overtime was coming," Loomis said. "But I was like ‘this is the last chance.' I stopped thining about it, just stopped thinking about what I needed to do and just did it."
It was a hard-fought contest between two teams that had already played twice this season. Mount Anthony won on both occassions, 2-0 earlier in the year and 3-1 on the final day of the regular season, but it would be Rutland that would take the lead first on Friday.
On a penalty corner 12 minutes into the contest, Rutland's Catherine DiPalma was able to score off of a pass from Rachel Cruise, giving Rutland a 1-0 lead over the host-Patriots.
"I was really happy with their start, especially in the cold weather," Rutland coach April Cioffi said. "They came out gunning for it. They really wanted it."
But once the Rutland goal went in, Mount Anthony finally came to life. Rutland recorded four penalty corners in the opening stages of the game. The Raiders would not record another penalty corner for the rest of the contest.
"[After the goal] we kind of just realized that they are here to play," Farrara said about the slow start. "We had to step up and push, it wasn't going to be easy."
As the Patriots started to build up possession, the attempts started to come.
Farrara would barely miss hitting a ball that was centered to her in the circle, then she put one just wide of the post off a pass from senior Rachel Holland.
After the two near-chances, Farrara turned into a distributor to bring the Patriots' first goal.
On a penalty corner of their own, Farrara hit a shot towards the cage. It was blocked by a Rutland defender, but sophomore Kori Bow was able to keep it in the circle.
She let go of one shot, which stuck between goalie Laura Hewitt's legs. Bow then followed up with a poke to put the ball home.
"[Bow] has been stepping up all season," coach Laura Paro said. "She is getting used to the varsity level and speed. She has been very key for us."
In the second half, it was all Patriots.
In the opening minutes, Farrara just missed on a shot that Loomis nearly redirected in. Sophomore Amber Morse also went just wide on a shot, and Bow saw a pass to Loomis jump at the last moment to break up an attack.
But even with the dominance shown by the Patriots, overtime still loomed large. When a penalty corner was called with just 20 seconds left, almost everyone thought overtime was coming.
Except for Paro.
"Obviously, it was at that point. But I wasn't planning for overtime. I was hoping they would score. I wanted to end it in regulation."
The play started with Loomis finding Bow as the clock expired. But with the ball still in the circle, the Patriots were allowed to continue the play. Bow then worked it to the left to Farrara, who put the ball towards the cage. Half shot, half pass, it came down to Loomis to finish off the play. With a swing of her stick, she sent it to the far corner.
"That is just being composed," Paro said. "That is the senior leadership. When pressure came to pressure, Makayla didn't crack. And Gabby, that is something we have been working on. She works well on that post, it was great to see her execute."
MAU goalie Leah Holland and Hewitt both recorded one save on the day. The Patriots finished with 20 corners in the game.
Mount Anthony now moves onto the semifinals, and will play the winner of top-seed Essex versus eight-seed Middlebury. The semifinal contest will be at Middlebury College on Wednesday at 7 p.m.