BENNINGTON >> Battling to a scoreless tie with under five minutes left in the first round of the John James tournament, the Burr and Burton boys soccer team were searching desperately for that one goal to help them grab the lead and win their first game of the 2016 season.

The Bulldogs finally got what they were searching for when Felix Kershaw headed in teammate Wally Hynds' throw-in to give BBA the lead and ultimately a 1-0 victory over Brattleboro.

"[It] feels great to get our first win of the season here at the John James tournament," Kershaw said. "Couldn't be happier to score that game winning goal to help the team win and hopefully this is the start of more wins for our team this season."

In the first half, Kershaw was on the sidelines, nursing a injury, while watching his team and the Colonels battle to a scoreless draw at halftime.

Both goalies Christian Caraco and Jacob Bailey were stellar in net, knocking away any scoring attempt their opponent threw at them.

Caraco tallied four saves in the first half for the Bulldogs and had six saves overall, while Bailey racked up nine saves in net for Brattleboro.

It wasn't just the goalies keeping the teams off the board, but defenders on the back lines also did a great job holding the offenses in check, especially BBA's Jordan Eisenmann who knocked away a would-be goal to keep the game scoreless going into the second half.


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"That was a huge moment for us in the game when Jordan denied them of that goal in the first half and kept the game tied," said BBA coach Peter Mull. "That allowed us to stay patient on offense and keep knocking on those scoring opportunities until we were able to get one in the net."

With no score through the first 20 minutes of the second half, the Bulldogs looked like they finally got the game's first score when Hynds' throw-in bounced into the net, but the goal was waved off since the throw didn't touch any player on the field before going in the net.

Hynds' next throw-in did count when the senior threw the ball toward the net where it would bounce of the head of Kershaw and into the net to give BBA a 1-0 lead with 4:20 left.

"Wally and I have talked about trying to use the throw-in as way to get me a chance to score and it thankfully worked tonight," Kershaw said. "It's an amazing feeling to score a game winning like that."

With the lead, the Bulldogs put a clamp on the game, holding the Colonels offense in check and improving to 1-1-1 on the season.

"This was a great win for us and a great way for the to earn it's first win of the season," Mull said. "We were able to score when it mattered at the end of the game and your more able to build off those clutch performance when you have already have done them, so hopefully the case for us going forward."

BBA sophomore Oscar Loomis fires a kick into the Brattleboro zone during the first half of Thursday’s game. With the win, the Bulldogs are now 1-1-1
BBA sophomore Oscar Loomis fires a kick into the Brattleboro zone during the first half of Thursday's game. With the win, the Bulldogs are now 1-1-1 on the season. (steven bassin — bennington banner | photos.benningtonbanner.com)

With the win, the Bulldogs move on to the finals of the John James tournament where they will face rival Mount Anthony.

The last four times BBA has made it to the finals of this tournament, they have won it, so Mull hopes that's the case again this year.

"We have won the John James tournament four out of the last five years, so our team understands the pressure of playing in big game like that," Mull said. "We know MAU is a tough team and in this tournament we have seen that anything can happen, so you just to give all you got and hope you can come out on top."

BBA will play MAU in the finals on Saturday at 7 p.m.