SVC back to .500 with win over MCLA

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BENNINGTON — As of late, the Southern Vermont College women have been on the winning track, scoring victories in two of its last three games heading into Tuesday's matchup with Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

The Mountaineers continued their mid-season push with a 3-0 win over the Trailblazers on Everett Field.

SVC controlled the action on their side of the field, save for a couple of long MCLA chances.

"There was some frustration early, we talked about getting the ball down, putting it on the floor and moving it and in the first 20 minutes we didn't do it," said Southern Vermont College coach Michael Zauzig. "In the [next] 20, it clearly was different. Sometimes it's about how you finish the match, and we finished it well."

In the 30th minute, all that pressure paid off in the form of the first score of the afternoon.

Freshman defender Addison Bonacio launched a throw-in from the midfield line on the right side, and the ball bounced down the wing where Wierzbicki got to it and fired home for her third goal of the year.

"We've been practicing running straight to the end line, so I took the opportunity, ran at [my defender] and chipped it over," Wierzbicki said.

Bonacio nearly doubled the lead early in the second half, but a perfectly placed ball veered right and off the post. The Mountaineers ended up going ahead by two with 20 minutes to go when Wierzbicki beat the MCLA keeper to the ball, played through by Paige Vitale, and lofted it over for her second goal of the day and fourth of the year.

"Her pace is unbelievable, you see that and she's dangerous," Zauzig said. "But what gets lost, we had a target player in Rileigh [Griffiths]. The [MCLA defense] chased other fast players, so now they have to chase her. A lot of credit goes to the players working them first."

Southern Vermont controlled the pace of play with a 28-5 advantage in shots taken and a 10-1 upper hand in corner kicks.

Molly Madore sealed the win in the 78th minute when she corralled a corner kick and blasted it past Megan Richardson for the score.

The victory was a milestone for Mountaineers senior goalkeeper Melissa Mascari, who won her 29th career game, tying Hall of Famer Thalia Smith `00 for the program's all-time mark.

Mascari made four stops as she and the Mountaineer defense came through on SVC's second-straight shutout. Richardson turned away 10 shots in the loss.

"There were a lot of positives from today," Zauzig said. "We did a better job of winning 50-50 balls. In the second half, the energy was better, we calmed down a little bit. It's a positive result against a team that it's been years to get on their level. It's a solid win."

The win is the Mountaineers' third in their last four games and improves the team's overall season mark to 4-4. MCLA falls to 0-7 with the loss.

Southern Vermont turns back to New England Collegiate Conference play for its next game as the Mountaineers visit Newbury College on Saturday for a 3 p.m. league kickoff.


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