Down to the wire: BBA, MAU girls lacrosse fighting for position in tight Division I field
BENNINGTON -- With one week left before the Vermont girls lacrosse playoffs begin, there's a logjam of teams fighting for the top three spots in Division I -- including Burr and Burton Academy and Mount Anthony Union High School.
The top team in D-I, BFA-St. Albans, fell to Mount Mansfield on a rare Memorial Day contest on Monday, 16-14, leaving the Bobwhites, Bulldogs and Cougars all with two losses.
Not to be left out is the No. 4 seed in Mount Anthony, who are 9-3 and on a six-game win streak with three matches left, against Rutland and two against Brattleboro.
Middlebury (8-3) is the No. 5, South Burlington (9-4) is No. 6 and Rice is No. 7 at 8-4.
"I've never seen Division I this wide open, there's so many contenders," said BBA coach Dave Miceli, who has coached girls lacrosse in Vermont since 1998. "It's exciting, anyone in the top eight could win it."
The Bulldogs, right now the No. 2 seed, are 11-2 and have the most wins in Division I. But because they've played one more game then their competition, they sit in the second spot. With Mount Mansfield's victory on Monday, BBA is 0.19 index points ahead.
"The quality of lacrosse is so high, you can't go in thinking you can meet up with a team and expect to beat them," Miceli said.
BBA lost the first two games of the year to Middlebury and South Burlington, but have reeled off 11 wins in a row and come into the final week of the regular season as the hottest team in the state.
"It's better to be winning for morale and it also helps us keep the focus on lacrosse. It's easier to coach a team like that," Miceli said.
BBA finishes the season with Hartford at Applejack Field tonight at 7 p.m., then road games against Woodstock on Thursday and Rice on Saturday.
"If we take care of our own business, we should be doing well," Miceli said.
At least the Bulldogs control their own destiny. The Patriots, right now sitting in the No. 4 seed at 9-3, don't.
They have games against Rutland on the road today and a scheduled game on Thursday against Brattleboro -- but also to finish a suspended game from earlier in the season that MAU leads 13-6 with 12:32 left in the second half.
"I told the girls [Monday] at practice that we are playing quality teams and if we win out, we could get as high as the No. 2 seed, depending on what other teams do," said MAU coach Tom Otero, in his 14th season leading the Patriots. "It really depends on what team shows up that day. Whoever makes the least errors and is the most consistent will win."
MAU is also on a roll, winning the last six in a row after starting the season 3-3. And that roll starts on defense. In the Patriots' last four wins, they have allowed an average of less than six goals.
"We held Hartford scoreless for the final 17 minutes," Otero said. "Our execution against the weaker teams has been really good. We've worked hard on solidifying the defense, with players that have differing levels of experience."
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