BENNINGTON — It was a nice to start to the week for the Mount Anthony boys lacrosse team as the Patriots defeated Rutland on Monday, 9-7, clinching a playoff berth in the process.
Down 1-0 early on in the contest, MAU got themselves going thanks to the play of senior Hunter Davis.
Cutting through the Rutland defense with ease, Davis was able to find an opening for a shot that went right into the back of the net to tie the game for MAU.
A minute later, Davis was at it again for the Patriots, this time dishing out a nice pass to fellow senior Jeremy Bourgeois who slammed one in for a goal to give MAU the lead.
After junior A.J Wright scored his first goal of the season for MAU to make a two score game, Davis with under a minute left in the quarter, picked up his own rebound and fired a shot that the Rutland goaltender could not make a save on it this time for his second goal of the contest that extended the Patriots' lead to 4-1 going into second quarter.
"I wasn't trying to force anything and let the game come to me." Davis said. "If I had the open shot, I tried to put it in the back of the net. If I didn't, I tried to find the open man."
Leading by two now in the second quarter, Davis dished out his second assist of the half on fellow senior Thomas Hendery's goal that gave MAU a 5-2 lead going into halftime.
In the second half, MAU extended their lead to four on Davis' team-high third goal of the contest, but then saw Rutland come back with two unanswered scores to make it a two goal game again.
That's when junior Ezra Royce inserted himself into the game for MAU, weaving his way through the Rutland defense and then firing a laser into the back of the net to give the Patriots a 7-4 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Davis then once again found Hendery for a sweet give and go for his team-high third assist of the day and Hendery's second goal of the contest to extend the Patriots lead back to four.
With a four goal lead in hand once again, the MAU defense began to put the clamps down on the Rutland offense.
Being aggressive in their man to man defense, MAU was able to force a lot of turnovers from the Rutland offense all game and especially in the fourth quarter, keeping the Patriots lead at four with under two minutes left to play in the game.
"I thought our slides and just our aggressiveness really made it uncomfortable for them to move the ball and get open shots," said MAU defenseman Josh Comalli. "Also our goalie Jackson Thibodeau did a great job in net and helped us out with some great saves as well."
Thibodeau finished the game with a 11 saves in net for the Patriots, eight of them coming in the second half.
Down four, Rutland did not go away quietly and got two goals at the end from senior Joe Torres to make it a two score game, but it wasn't enough and the Patriots were able to hold on for their fifth win of the season.
Royce finished with two goal scored in the win for MAU.
Torres scored a game-high four goals in the loss for Rutland with three of them being scored in the fourth quarter.
"After losing to Rutland the first time around, it was nice to see the guys battle back and get the win against them today," said MAU coach Mark Lange. "Rutland is very good team, so for us to play another complete game in all phases to get the win is very huge for us. Both our offensive and defensive units are playing well right now and we just gotta continue to build on that game by game."
With the win, MAU improves to 5-7 on the season.
The Patriots will next travel to play Brattleboro under the lights on Thursday at 7 p.m.