Second half goals propel BBA past MAU
BENNINGTON — Down a goal, the Burr and Burton girls soccer team needed to calm its nerves during halftime of the Lady Patriot Classic championship game against Mount Anthony Saturday night.
BBA took that time to rediscover its game and it paid dividends in the second half, as the Bulldogs scored twice to pull out a 2-1 win at Spinelli Field.
Whenever MAU and BBA meet up, regardless of the sport, the stakes are high. Add in a tournament championship on the line, and the stakes are multiplied immensely.
"There's always so many emotions coming into this tournament," said BBA coach Suzanne Mears. "We just needed to calm our nerves and play soccer."
The Bulldogs started to find their groove midway through the second half. They were producing more chances after halftime, but entering the latter stages of the contest, hadn't broke through.
In the 58th minute, BBA had a corner kick, so it turned to its go-to girl in that spot, senior Rebecca Montaufray. Montaufray hit a perfect ball into the box and it found Grace Pinkus' head for the equalizing goal.
"[Grace] was in the right place," Mears said. "It was a beautiful cross and it literally came right where she was and she perfectly placed it right in the net. She was very composed."
About nine minutes later, Pinkus found the ball on her foot off a throw-in and sealed her defender to shoot a cross into the box. Montaufray was right there to kick it home to take the lead.
"A lot of what we talk about is just looking for our opportunities and capitalizing on them and that's exactly what [Grace] did right there," Mears said. "She was so calm and looked for the slot across. Becca was in the right place to put it home."
MAU had its chances to go up a couple goals in the first half. Following a trip of Rebecca Crosier in the box, Patriots senior Jordan Mattison took a penalty shot, but BBA keeper Carol Herbert saved it with a dive to her right.
Another shot went off the right cross bar, and if it were a few inches to the left, would have been a MAU goal.
The lone MAU goal came on a nice effort by junior Antonia Pellon, who took a shot that deflected off a Bulldogs defender. Pellon secured the rebound and put the Patriots ahead in the 17th minute.
MAU kept the same intensity no matter what the score was Saturday night and peppered BBA with opportunity after opportunity.
"It's always good to get on the board first. Thursday [against Wahconah], we scored first and then fell out of our shape. Today, we scored first and didn't sit back on it," said Patriots coach Mark Boudreau. "We just kept playing the same way. We had a ton of opportunities and they just didn't go in. Soccer is one and two goal games and that's what we had."
In order to keep the game close in the first half and to fend off a comeback late, Herbert and the back line in front of her stepped up in a big way.
"MAU pressured us and held us the entire game. For 80 minutes, it was a fight," Mears said. "They had opportunity after opportunity and Carol and our back line just came through huge."
Soccer is a game where one goal here or there swings the result. Boudreau was happy with the effort his girls showed Saturday night.
"We play a sport where you can be the better team sometimes and you give up two goals and you lose," Boudreau said. "We played well, so there's nothing to hold our heads about. They put two in and we put one in."
Pinkus scored four of her team-high nine goals in the tournament and was named the Nicole Levesque Offensive Most Valuable Player.
Herbert earned the Shelley Addison Defensive Most Valuable Player.
BBA improves to 4-0 with Saturday's win and plays Leland and Gray on Wednesday at home.
MAU falls to 1-2 and plays CVU next Saturday at home.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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