MAU boys lacrosse holds on, moves on
BENNINGTON -- Coming back to the Vets Home Field to finish its playdown against No. 10 BFA-St. Albans on Wednesday after being delayed by storms, the No. 7 Mount Anthony Union High School boys lacrosse team played what coach Paul Reif called ‘the best 6 minutes of lacrosse he's seen this season.'
In that stretch, MAU took a two-goal lead and stretched it to five. But they'd need all those goals and then some as the Patriots held on for an 11-9 first-round victory.
"After yesterday, they could have played a lot better to start that game," said Mount Anthony coach Paul Reif. "They came out today firing on all cylinders, everyone trucking and on their assignments. We made the extra pass and got those [easier goals]."
Ahead 4-2 when play was stopped on Tuesday with 5:46 left, Mount Anthony's Hunter Davis got the Patriots on the board off an assist from Matthew Pellon with 4:37 remaining in the first half to make it 5-2. Less than 90 seconds later, Avery Peck scored -- one of Peck's game-high six -- to increase the lead to 6-2, then did it again with 1:43 to go to stretch the advantage to five at halftime.
"We were excited at the half, but we didn't want them to sit much," Reif said. "I told them that BFA wouldn't quit, that was the scouting report from across the state."
But on the other side, the Bobwhites were tired -- especially after riding in a school bus for more than nine hours in the past two days crisscrossing Vermont.
"I relate the breakdowns to rest, we were physically tired," said BFA coach Mark Capsey. "We could run with these guys but we got off the bus slow."
BFA won the second half faceoff and scored in seven seconds to make it 7-3, but MAU came right back over the next few minutes with two goals of its own.
Damon Young scored one of his two goals and then Peck scored on a lefty rocket with an assist from Briar Wilkinson to jump the lead to 9-3 with seven minutes left in the third.
Ben Boomhover and Loudon Granger each scored for the Bobwhites less than 30 seconds apart and BFA had some life, but after some play in the midfield, the Patriots took the ball near midfield. Young found Trafton in mid-stride for the goal that made it 10-5.
"I changed Layne's role, because I felt we needed more possession up top, and a dual threat to feed from the X and at the top," Reif said. "He took [the change] with grace and it's showed the heart he's had for the past four years."
Cameron Russell led the Bobwhites with three goals, but two of those came in the first half as he was shut down in the second by the Mount Anthony defense and goalie Jackson Thibodeau.
"I wish we had the end of the second quarter to do over again," Capsey said. "But it's no excuse. They are a good ball club and we're pretty evenly matched. It's just little breakdowns."
After dominating the suspended second quarter, not allowing a BFA goal, the team were much more even in the third, each scoring three times.
"We had a little mental lapse in the third quarter, with some injuries and others sitting, but the bench stepped up," Reif said. "They didn't need to be heroes, it was a real team win today."
BFA took one last chance at coming back in the fourth. After Peck scored to make it 11-6, the Bobwhites needed quick scores.
After a timeout, BFA's Tanner Cioffi scored with 2:05 left to make it 11-7. On the next possession, Thibodeau had the ball and came out of the goal area. The ball was stripped and Russell scored on an empty net.
Danny Rocheleau scored again for BFA with 14 seconds left, but the comeback was for naught as the clock ran out on the Bobwhites' season.
Mount Anthony improves to 8-9 and travel to South Burlington, the No. 2 seed, today at 4 p.m. The Rebels are 13-2.
"It will depend on confidence," said Reif, referring to tomorrow's match with South Burlington. "We played teams this year from the Capital Region that our out of sight. We can beat South Burlington. We just need the mental toughness to persevere when things aren't going our way."
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