Patriots still searching for team identity after loss to Hartford

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BENNINGTON >> The past two games have been rough for the Mount Anthony boys soccer team.

After losing 4-0 to Rutland on Wednesday, the Patriots had trouble scoring again on Friday night in their 3-0 loss to Hartford.

"We're still trying to figure out who we are as a team and what type of style we want to play out there on the field," said MAU coach Mike Molloy. "Things haven't gone our way in these past few games and we need figure some things out to get out of this recent slump."

The Patriots were very aggressive in Hartford's end of the field to start the contest, getting a couple scoring opportunities off nice crossers by Ben Winslow in front of the Hurricanes' net, but nothing came about it for MAU.

With the game still scoreless going into the last 15 minutes of the first half, Hartford took advantage of a golden opportunity to take get on the board first.

A pass from Hurricanes player went over the head of MAU defenseman Matthew Anderson and landed on the foot of Kyle Prior, who broke free from the pack and fired a shot into the net to give Hartford a 1-0 lead.

"I thought Matthew did a good job covering their guy Prior, but we just had a couple sloppy clears and didn't do a good job of denying him the ball at times, allowing him to create chances to score on us," Molloy said. "We're not playing well in the midfield and on defense, so we need to sort that out."

MAU's defense did though hold Prior and the Hartford offense in check track the rest of the half to go into halftime only down one.

However at the start of the second half, Hartford extended their lead when the MAU defense had trouble clearing the ball our of their zone, allowing Nick Jones to poke a shot in for his first goal of the contest to give the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead.

Down two now, the Patriots offense went back on the aggressive to bring themselves back in game.

The aggressive play on offense though again like in the first half, did not equal goals as a couple missed scoring opportunities kept the game at 2-0 with 20 minutes left to play.

"I thought we played our best in the game after they took a 2-0 lead on us," Molloy said. "We showed a lot of fight there and kept battling to get back in the game. Unfortunately for us though we couldn't connect on our opportunities."

Still a 2-0 game with under 14 minutes now to play in the contest, Hartford put the finished touches on their victory when Ben Rouillard rocketed in a goal to make it a 3-0 affair.

The Patriots almost cut the Hurricanes' lead back to two a couple minutes later, but Ben Winslow's goal was called off because of an offside call, signaling the end for MAU who drops to 4-4 on the season.

Dylan Woodside recorded four saves in net for the Patriots in the loss.

Hartford's goalie Jordy Allard racked up 5 saves in his shutout performance.

The Patriots will now take these next five days to regroup before they take their second hack against Rutland at home on Thursday.

Even with their struggles in the past few game, Molloy saids he still feels the team can turn things around in the second half of the season.

"Your going to go through your high and low points of a season and right now we're going through a tough stretch," Molloy said. "The team's confidence is a little low right now, so we need someone to step up and get us going a bit. I do think thought that the way we fought to the very end in this loss shows that their is no quit in this team and that if we can fix up our mistakes on the field, we can rebound from these losses."


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