Mount Anthony takes third in John James

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BENNINGTON — After Thursday's loss to Arlington in the opening round of the John James Tournament, the Mount Anthony boys soccer team's locker room was a silent place.

Forty-eight hours later, in the consolation match against Burr and Burton it looked like a completely different team.

"The focus of our practice [Friday] was 'team-first'," said Mount Anthony coach Mike Molloy. "Everyone has to stop thinking about what I want and me and start saying, 'What does this team need?"

With a new outlook, the Patriots came back in the consolation game and topped Burr and Burton, 3-1 in the 51st annual James event.

"This was a team win, not individual and that's the key for us going forward," Molloy said. "We're a young bunch but we're pretty resilient."

Burr and Burton took the lead in the 29th minute on a questionable handball in the box call against a Mount Anthony defender. Devin Deets stepped up to the spot and hit it past MAU goalie Ethan LaBatt for a 1-0 lead.

As the first half wound down, Mount Anthony took advantage of some aggressive play from Burr and Burton goalie Liam Day to tie the game. Chase Gosselin pressured the ball back toward the BBA net and when Day and Gosselin got to the ball almost exactly at the same time, it deflected behind Day for an own-goal.

"It was Chase just working to make that play," Molloy said. "It was caused by his pressure."

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Early in the second half, BBA nearly went ahead again, but a quick-thinking Giovanni Gina used his head, literally, to keep the ball out of the Patriot net. A few minutes later, MAU was rewarded. On a beautiful through ball from Jordan Gardner, Charlie Dobson made a nice run through a pair of Bulldog defenders and zipped the ball past Day to take the lead with 25:20 left.

"We've been working on that give-and-go, that movement for the guys up top," Molloy said. "It was Charlie's first time up top for us, and he had a composed touch [to put it] in."

BBA pressed for the equalizer and had chances that LaBatt turned away. On one, River DeFelice got around the defense, but LaBatt foiled the attempt with a save. With eight minutes left, a shot for BBA looked to be in, but at the last second, LaBatt made the stop.

"We bent but didn't break on defense," Molloy said. "BBA definitely had the better of the play toward the end of the game.

Mount Anthony salted the game away in the last minute on a counter attack, Dobson was taken down in the box for a penalty. Gardner came up and coolly drained it for a 3-1 lead.

"He's our penalty taker and he should be for the next three years," Molloy said of his sophomore. "He's confident in himself and he's composed."

MAU improves to 2-3 on the season, while BBA drops to 2-3.

"We needed this win after Thursday's performance," Molloy said. "This was a gut check for us."


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