Fast start leads MAU over Mount Greylock
BENNINGTON — Before Mount Greylock could even get its feet wet at Vets Home Field, the Mount Anthony girls lacrosse team put the Mounties in a deep hole.
A run of five unanswered goals in the first five minutes of play was the difference Friday afternoon, as MAU topped Greylock 14-9 at Vets Home Field in its home opener.
"One of our things coming into this game was that we had to get ahead first," said Patriots co-coach Whitney Brooks. "The last two games, we got behind really quickly and it's really hard to catch up. Their mentality coming in was that we had to get points on the board quick and that's what they did."
Abby Farrington started the scoring a few minutes in for MAU and Avery Galle scored just 30 seconds later to put the Patriots up 2-0. Amber Metcalfe and Caroline Musinski score one apiece in quick succession, before the Mounties knew it, they were down by four goals.
That early spurt by MAU was predicated on its ability to win the draws. With a major advantage in that category, the Patriots dominated the possession battle throughout that stretch and they made sure to make Greylock pay for it.
"Draw control. What we talked about was that we only won two draws the whole first half," said Mounties coach Lindsey von Holtz. "It's a game of possession. [Mount Anthony] was able to win draws and we had two turnovers early and that allowed them to get up on us. It's hard to come from behind."
After a beautiful pass from Galle to Metcalfe around the goal extended the MAU lead to five, Greylock finally broke through with a tally from senior Brook Masse.
Unfortunately for the Mounties, whenever Greylock scored a goal, a Patriot goal wasn't far behind.
Galle quickly scored for MAU, and after Carolyn Jones tallied a goal for the Mounties around the Patriots' crease, Musinski scored one her own for MAU.
The Patriots had struggled to get their offense going consistently in their previous games against Rutland and Burr and Burton, so Friday's output was a major step in the right direction.
"We scored more goals today than we did in our last two games combined, so I think our attack is really stepping up," said MAU co-coach Emily Cross.
The Patriots took a six-goal lead into the halftime break.
Clare Sheedy scored the first goal of the second half for the Mounties, but MAU tallied three of its own, one apiece from Metcalfe, Galle and Natalie Jelley to go up 11-3.
The Patriots held an eight goal lead with just more than four minutes to play, but Greylock refused to go down quietly. The young Mounties scored the next three goals to cut the lead to five, and although the MAU lead was too much to overcome, von Holtz was proud of the effort they showed in those closing minutes.
"They kept their heads up the whole game and we knew this was going to be a tough game," von Holtz said. "We stayed together as a team and not getting at themselves or each other helped them stay in it. We talked a lot about the simple things like ground balls, draw controls. We did a much better job fighting for those things in the second half."
Jones led the way with four goals for the Mounties, while Masse had three.
For a team with a lot of underclassmen, it's going to be a process for Greylock to reach its full potential, but the positive signs were there for the team Friday.
"We're still new. We have a lot of young players and a lot of new players who haven't played with us," von Holtz said. "We played one game in the hail and one in the wind, it's different to play when you don't have to worry about those things."
Galle, the Patriots' top scoring threat, had been held to two goals in each of the first two games, but she broke through Friday with a four-goal output to lead MAU.
Metcalfe and Jelley both had three apiece, while Farrington and Musinski had two.
Jelley's impact was felt all over the field and not just in her goal scoring.
"She might not get recognition for the goals she scored, but she gets all the ground balls in the midfield. If you win more ground balls than the other team, you'll win the game," Cross said.
MAU improves to 1-2 with the win and it'll look to build off Friday's momentum.
"The girls are starting to execute our drills from practice into the game and it looked really good today," Cross said. "I think it felt really good for the girls to get the win in this game because we've been working really hard."
"Mount Greylock is always a really tough team. We knew who their shooters were, so we had a good gameplan coming into it. These girls really stuck to it. Our girls are starting to mesh," Brooks added.
The Patriots are back in action on April 22 against another Western Massachusetts foe Wahconah at home. Mount Greylock (2-1) is back at home to play Granby Wednesday.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at email@example.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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