Essex holds on to knock out BBA in D-I playdown

MANCHESTER — Five minutes into the second half of a scoreless tie, Burr and Burton goalie Garren Aberth had to leave Wednesday's Division I playdown against No. 10 seed Essex with a leg injury.

BBA coach Pete Mull was confident in his backup, senior Joe Hancock, even coming in cold.

"We've been switching back and forth all year, they are used to coming in at halftime and playing for each other," Mull said. "It was a game-time decision to go with Garren first. Both have their strengths and weaknesses and they both played a good game."

Essex's Tristan Salgado broke the deadlock in the 48th minute and the Hornets held on for a 2-1 victory at Taylor Field to advance to the quarterfinals.

"Nate Layman is our goalie coach and he's been great for us, I rely a lot on him to make the call [about who will be in goal]," Mull said.

Salgado scored coming across after a corner kick from Peter Osiecki for the lead and then about 10 minutes later, Essex doubled the lead when Ryan Young scored on a through ball from Tyler Routhier.

"The second goal was huge. We have a call — F22, which means first to two and we chart whether we get to two goals first," said Essex coach Jake Orr. "Once we scored the first goal, the guys on the field and the guys on the bench were saying, we need another. In a playoff game, especially on the road, it's not going to be easy, so that insurance goal was huge."

Burr and Burton pushed up, playing three forwards in an attempt to find a quick score.

They got it with 16:39 to go, when Matt Mayne took advantage of a nice through ball and blasted it low past the Hornet goalie to cut the lead to 2-1.

"We started pushing up after the first goal, putting three forwards up," Mull said. "We don't have an easy time scoring goals, that's been a challenge all year, so we have to throw the kitchen sink at them." got a goal and almost tied it up, unfortunate that we couldn't put it in.

With 10 minutes left, Burr and Burton got as close as they could to tying the game without putting a score on the board. On one of BBA's seven corner kicks, the ball bounced in the box, hit a Bulldog leg and then the Essex keeper before trickling away.

"I didn't see it clearly, but the guys said the keeper got a leg on it and someone toe-balled it out," Orr said. "It was a 'park the bus' [defense] in the last 10 minutes, we were hanging on."

Essex nearly sealed it when they had a 1-on-1 with Hancock with 3:40 to go, but the senior keeper made the stop, giving BBA a last chance to get an equalizer.

After the game, Mull talked about his seniors, including Nick Plants, who made the varsity for the first time this season as a center back, and Ben Stewart, a four-year starter for the Bulldogs.

BBA finishes the year at 7-6-2 and Mull congratulated his assistant coaches, Brenton Pinkus and Scott Clausen, for their work this season.

"They volunteer their time, they love the game and love working with the kids," Mull said. "I'm excited for next season, it helps you get over disappointing games like this."


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