BENNINGTON — Tied halfway through the first half of its game against Brattleboro on Monday, the Mount Anthony girls lacrosse team needed a spark and they got one — from their defense.
Stellar play from the Patriots' back line and goalie Carly Plaisance kept the Colonels off the scoreboard for more than a half-hour of game time, allowing the offense to score eight straight goals en route to a 12-5 win.
"Carly has improved every game and her confidence is really helping her," said MAU coach Whitney Brooks. "She's averaging anywhere from seven to 11 saves a game and she sees the whole field, so she's a huge backup system for the defense."
With 13:47 left, Brattleboro made it 2-2 and the Patriots took a timeout to regroup and they came out quickly, as Emily Altland scored a pair of goals in the next few minutes to give MAU a 4-2 lead.
Brianna Zipprich, who had four goals on the day to tie the high scorer, scored her second with 4:07 left in the half off on an assist from Altland, then Bridget Ahearn got involved, tallying the next two scores, one with 2:27 left, then the next in the final minute, assisted again by Altland.
Ahearn had four goals, while Altland added three scores and three assists.
"We know those guys are strong, they work really well around the goal," Brooks said. "They are communicating well on defense and starting to seemingly read each other's minds, they know what they want to do without having to say it."
It was more of the same in the second half. Claire Taub scored her sole goal of the day in the first 90 seconds and then nearly 10 minutes went by with no scoring until Zipprich blasted home two in a row, the first on a free position with 15:41 left, then the next at 12:57 off another assist by Altland.
Brattleboro ended its scoreless streak a minute later with a score to make it 10-3.
In all, the Colonels were held off the board for 32 minutes.
"We have really great coaches that work with us and I've really focused on goalkeeping this year," said Plaisance, who made a season-high 11 saves on Monday.
Ahearn finished the scoring for the Patriots with a pair of scores in the final 10 minutes.
"Coming into this game, we won big against them early in the year when they were missing starters," Brooks said. "I didn't want to come in thinking it was an easy game, so I'm glad with came in strong. We got their numbers and kept our sticks up and really communicated and pulled together."
Mount Anthony improves to 12-2 on the year and hosts Burr and Burton for the Senior Day matchup on Wednesday. BBA beat Mount Anthony by a single goal earlier this year at Applejack Field, and Brooks said she hopes to avenge the loss.
"We have a big game against [a team that beat us]," Brooks said. "We lost to Mount Greylock earlier this season and then came back to beat them, so we want to do the same thing against BBA. Home field is a big plus for us, we want to bring everything together as a team."