BENNINGTON >> Since dropping their season opener to Mount Holyoke last Thursday, the Southern Vermont College women's soccer team have bounced back with a vengeance in their next two contests.
First, the Mountaineers showed off their explosive offense in their 7-1 home opener win over Dean on Sunday, and then proved to be a resilient bounce in a tough fought 4-2 win over Rivier on Monday.
"We had a rough start to the season last week, but the girls continued to battled and stay the course of getting better each and every day," said SVC women's soccer coach Michael Zauzig. "We worked on a couple things that we weren't efficient in from the season opener and I couldn't be proud of this group with how they performed the past few days."
The Mountaineers started right where they left off from their first win of the season, scoring goals in bunches.
It began with freshman Taylor Mallett, who, off a nice pass from teammate Ashley Bloom, streaked down the sidelines into the Rivier zone and fired a shot in the left corner of the net for the game's first score.
That wouldn't be the last time the Raiders heard from Mallett in the first half.
After sophomore Ally McNamme scored her first goal of the game to SVC a 2-0 lead, Mallett was at it again for the Mountaineers offense, weaving her way through the Rivier defense and firing in her second goal of the contest with 1:33 left in the half to extend the SVC lead to three.
"I just hustled to ball and tried to make plays to help the team win," Mallett said. "My teammates and I have developed a good chemistry out there on the field and that has helped me a lot in these past two games. I just give it my all every play."
Mallett scored a total of three goals for SVC in their back-to-back wins.
In the second half, the resiliency of the Mountaineers came into play when Rivier began to mount a comeback, scoring back-to-back goals to cut the SVC lead to one with 18 minutes left to play.
As SVC continued to hold off another Rivier score in next few possessions, the Mountaineers got the insurance they needed when Mallett feed a sweet pass to sophomore Molly Madore who broke free from the pack and knocked her team leading fourth goal of the season to give SVC a 4-2 lead with a little over eight minutes remaining.
"I think we started to tighten up a bit after they scored those two goals and we were playing more not lose then try to win," Zauzig said. "Once we calmed down a bit and changed some things up in our lineup, I think the team started to become more aggressive on the offensive attack like in the first half and the when Molly scored that huge goal, you saw the confidence in the team really rise to finish the game."
The Mountaineers were not just facing Rivier, but also battling the heat on the hot sunny day at Everett Field said Zauzig.
"I think with battling the heat today and also playing back-to-back games, really showed on tough of a team we are," Zauzig said. "It also showed how deep of a team we are as every girls who was eligible to play did and all of them gave us quality minutes."
The Mountaineers depth was the key factor in the final eight minutes of the game, as SVC was able control the pace of the game and outlast the Raiders, improving to 2-1 on the season.
Junior Melissa Mascari had 14 saves in net for the Mountaineers in the win.
SVC will look to make it a clean sweep in their three-game homestand when they play Green Mountain on Thursday at 4 p.m.