Pats, Bratt split rare series


BENNINGTON -- The Mount Anthony Union High School girls lacrosse team tried to complete a rare double on Thursday, with the chance to beat Brattleboro twice in one day -- the regularly scheduled game and 12 minutes, 32 seconds of a weather-suspended game from May 1.

The Colonels played spoiler to that, winning the first game 9-6, but Mount Anthony came back in the second with a 17-8 victory to split the day.

"We knew it would be a game, Brattleboro's game has been going up the past couple of weeks," said Mount Anthony coach Tom Otero. "They are a good coached teams, they have a bunch of seniors. Some [of our] young kids got nervous and we got out of our game."

The teams matched goals in the first 10 minutes, with Emily Cross scoring her only tally with 16:39 left in the first half to put Mount Anthony up 3-2. Two minutes later, Lizzy Clark scored on a free position to tie the match at 3-3 and start the Colonels on a roll for the next five goals unanswered.

Megan Siggins gave Brattleboro a lead it wouldn't relinquish and then Clark (who led all scorers with six goals), scored three in a row to jump the Colonels' lead to 7-3. Then with 6 seconds remaining in the first half, Hannah Lynde scored one of her two goals to put the Patriots in a hole.

"That's a big goal because it shuts momentum down," Otero said. "But we were down 9-0 in one game this year, so I said we have to play our game and not get taken out of it. [Brattleboro] took their time on offense, moved the ball around and the defense was sitting on its heels."

In the second half, Mount Anthony broke a 26-minute scoreless drought as Emily Altland scored one of her team-high three goals off an assist from Cross to pull to 8-4, but minutes later, Clark scored again in transition to make it 9-4.

Taylor Palmer added a man-up goal and Altland scored 45 seconds left to round out the scoring.

"Brattleboro played a decent defense, but I think we weree afraid a little bit, afraid to make a bad pass or miss the catch or take it into [the goal]," Otero said. "In a pressure situation like that, you have to be consistent and we didn't do that and it hurt us."

After a ten-minute break, the teams switched sides to finish the suspended game with MAU ahead, 13-6.

Courtney Gabrus scored with 9:28 left to make it 14-6 and then Altland was the beneficiary of an assist from senior Alexis Wright for a 15-6 advantage. Brattleboro pulled as close as 16-8 after a goal by Anna Burch, but Cross and the Patriots finished off the victory, scoring with two seconds left, fittingly in her final regular season home game.

"We played a better second game, it was like the pressure was off," Otero said.

MAU improves to 10-4 with a game today against Rutland, while Brattleboro is 8-6 overall.

At halftime of the regular game, Mount Anthony's seven seniors -- Alexis Wright, Taylor Palmer, Courtney Gabrus, Carly Rogers, Emily Cross, Haley Osgood and Madison Crawford -- were honored, along with Otero, who will step down to coach the new Southern Vermont College women's lacrosse program that begins play next spring.

"To have a day like this was nervewracking, we didn't know what to expect in the first game and even though the score didn't show it, we played well as a team," Palmer said. "[The ceremony] was overwhelming, especially with OT leaving, it was happy and sad at the same time."

Otero was honored in a surprise at the end of the ceremony, given a plaque for his 35 years of coaching at MAU.

"I didn't know it would happen, that was a big surprise," Otero said. "It's been a pleasure to coach these girls. I look at it like a family, the best part of this whole coaching gig is not the wins and losses, but the fact that the girls come back to the program after they leave, that's the most important thing."


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