Bulldogs start fast, finish regular season with win
MANCHESTER — As the regular season comes to a close, the Burr and Burton field hockey team wants to remind the rest of Division II that they were state runner-up last season.
Facing Hartford, who sat at the No. 1 position in the rankings, BBA made it clear they are peaking at the right time.
Scoring three goals in the first 12 minutes, BBA rolled to a 5-2 win over the Hurricanes at Taylor Field.
"It might be a little bit of [reminding people]," said BBA coach Barb Miceli. "We knew we needed to win this one if we're to have a chance at a home quarterfinal game."
It didn't take long for the Bulldogs to get on the board. Taking a pass from Annabelle Gray, BBA junior Arden Wojtach maneuvered around the defense and stuck it past Hartford keeper Bailey Cameron for a 1-0 lead.
Three minutes later, the Bulldogs doubled the advantage. Off a penalty corner, Riley Callen ripped a shot from just outside the circle that tipped off Gray's stick and then to Perrin Marion, who scored.
"It's important to come out strong and with a purpose," said Gray, who finished the day with two goals and two assists. "We came out trying to score first, because in some parts of the middle of the season, we weren't able to score [early]."
Five minutes later, the set play hit paydirt again for the Bulldogs. Callen started it, the ball got to Emma Hall, who passed it to Gray for the score.
"There was a stretch where we've been a second-half team and we wanted to get going [right away]," Miceli said. "Penalty corners work better on the turf, it's easier to get the ball to the top of the circle or to the side. It's a special play, but it's just field hockey, so we have to be smart about it."
In the second half, with the 3-0 lead, it was up to the BBA defense to hold it. Early on, Hannah Callen had a pair of saves to keep Hartford scoreless and the defense helped with the rest. Callen had six saves on the afternoon.
BBA put the game away with 10 minutes left. On a scramble in front of the cage, Celsey McMahon tipped the ball to Hall, who scored to make it 4-0.
Gray added a fifth goal with 4:44 to go before Hartford scored a pair of goals in the final minutes — Kennedy Mullen got the first one and Elsie Davis added the second.
"If they mark one, the others are just as effective," Miceli said. "Against St. Johnsbury, we had six goals and six different scorers. Today, it was four scorers and five goals. We came out with intensity from the first whistle. We did that against St. J and we did it again today."
In the final three games of the year, BBA has outscored opponents 16-2, after shutout wins against Rutland and St. Johnsbury.
"We've had a goal since the day of the championship last year," Gray said. "We've been working toward that no matter what."
BBA finishes the regular season at 8-6 and will find out their seed coming up on Monday.
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