Bulldogs, Patriots punch ticket to LPC final

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BENNINGTON — In the opening game of the 17th annual Lady Patriot Classic girls soccer tournament, Burr and Burton became the first to reach the final with a 2-0 win over Wahconah on Thursday evening.

"It felt good, we needed it to get back on our feet [after the opening loss to St. Johnsbury]," said BBA coach Suzanne Mears. "This can get us in the right direction. We started fast and we wanted to win this one and we got after it minute by minute."

BBA scored both goals in the first 17 minutes. The Bulldogs got on the board in the 11th minute when Emily Bleakie had a free kick. That blast found the foot of sophomore Grace Pinkus, who calmly put it past the Warrior keeper.

Soon after, Pinkus was on the delivering end, giving Maggie Sullivan a perfect through ball to run up and pot into the back corner to double the lead.

"Grace came in today and owned her space and wanted it," Mears said. "Her movement was good, picked up from last year. And Maggie gives you everything she has and it was nice to see her score a goal."

BBA nearly had a third goal, but the ball hit the crossbar and bounced away.

Wahconah played with the advantage for the first 10 minutes of the second half, but two goals were all the Bulldogs needed with senior Samantha Citron in the net. Citron had eight saves, while Wahconah goalie Sage Howers had five saves.

"We've been working with the defense to stay compact and really work as a unit," Mears said. "We have leadership back there with Lauren [Drasher] and they are controlling the back for us.

For the second season in a row, BBA will play in the championship game.

"These girls get so pumped for this tournament and it's nice to play at 7 p.m. Saturday night," Mears said.

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The second game of the doubleheader between the host Mount Anthony and Brattleboro ended up in 1-0 favor of the Patriots, as Jordan Mattison scored her second goal of the year. The game was was delayed for more than an hour because of thunderstorms, starting at about 8:40 p.m.

Mattison scored the lone goal with about 20 minutes left in regulation.

"It was a very even game, a little sloppy with the weather, but [Brattleboro coach] Edwin [de Brujin] has a good team," said MAU coach Mark Boudreau. "The defense was really strong, it was bend and not breaking defense. They had a couple of breakaways that we caught back up to stop and we worked the ball out well from the back. Maddy [Breese] also played well in the goal. We outlasted them."

Boudreau said he is looking forward to facing BBA in the final.

"We've played a couple of games against teams like us, we have some game time under our belt," Boudreau said. "Now we'll see what it's like to play the defending [Division I] champs."


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