BENNINGTON — Saturday’s game against Rutland was the fourth in seven days for the Mount Anthony boys soccer team.
In the first half, MAU seemed tired as the Raiders took a four-goal lead at halftime.
Mount Anthony came back with three goals in the second half, but Rutland held on for a 4-3 win at Spinelli Field.
“We’re not making excuses, but it was their fourth game in the last week and they looked like it in the first half,” said Mount Anthony coach Mike Molloy. “The energy and attitude was non-existent.”
The first half was a forgettable one for the Patriots, as Rutland scored three times in the first 15 minutes, a pair by Oliver Hamilton, including the second one, a short cross past MAU goalie Aiden Moscarello.
MAU’s best chance in the opening 40 minutes came shortly after, but a nice shot went wide, and Rutland capitalized on its fourth tally with 1:30 left in the half.
At halftime, Molloy wouldn’t dwell on what happened in the first 40 minutes, but how MAU could respond in the last 40.
“We said, let’s win the second half,” Molloy said. “We wanted to score a goal in the first 10 minutes of the second half, can we start to creep back in? That was the goal. It was a reset.”
Respond they did. Eight minutes into the second half, Nathan Potter put MAU on the board. Jordan Gardner ripped the original shot at the Rutland goalkeeper, who fumbled it and Potter crashed the net to finish to make it 4-1.
Four minutes later, after a foul in the box, Gardner calmly stepped up and scored on a penalty kick to make it 4-2 with 28:33 to go.
But MAU wasn’t done. Six minutes after Gardner’s PK, Ayden Parizo stepped up and blasted one past the Rutland keeper to make it 4-3 with 22:18 left.
“We had it within the first 20 minutes of the half, and we left some chances far post and other chances that didn’t connect,” Molloy said. “I think we had lots of opportunities in the second half.”
The goal was the defender Parizo’s second in two games.
Things calmed down a bit after that as Rutland started to play a little more defensive. With five minutes left, MAU started to press up to look for the tying score. Rutland held and MAU had a final chance in the last 30 seconds, but a shot off a set piece was turned away.
“Getting over the hurdle and having the winning mentality to say, we can get it close,” Molloy said. “Who’s going to be the guy who steps up and carries us? But we have to not get into that situation in the first place.”
MAU drops to 0-4-1 on the year, while Rutland improves to 2-2. MAU travels to Otter Valley on Friday at 4 p.m.
“That first 20 minutes of the second half is the team that we know we have,” Molloy said. “It was a good game to watch but the result didn’t come out.”