Set pieces crucial in BBA's 4-1 win

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MANCHESTER — Tied at halftime, the Burr and Burton girls soccer team made their presence felt in the second half, scoring a trio of unanswered goals in a 4-1 win over Mount Anthony that was closer than the final score indicated.

"I think every time we play Mount Anthony, it's a back-and-forth, even match. We just created some opportunities that we capitalized on, which led us to those goals [in the second half]," said BBA coach Suzanne Mears.

Grace Pinkus had a hat trick, scoring the first three of the Bulldogs' goals. Kerri Ann Campbell scored her first of the year with 3:40 left to round out BBA's scoring.

For the first 15 minutes, Burr and Burton had a clear advantage, but Mount Anthony goalie Maddy Breese was up to the task, keeping the Bulldogs off the board early. The momentum started to turn toward MAU in the next 10 minutes, but the BBA defense and goalie Carol Herbert swept the area of any Patriot attacks.

"In spurts, we did just fine, and then we fell flat at inopportune times," said Mount Anthony coach Mark Boudreau. "We were slow to start, getting down 1-0. We recovered quick to tie it and came out strong in the second half. We didnt break down that much, but they made us pay [when we did]."

It wasn't until the 25th minute that either team had a real strong chance and it came off Pinkus' foot.

The junior fought her way through a pair of MAU defenders and got a nice left-footed touch toward the goal, but it hit the crossbar. A rebound seconds later was smothered by Breese to keep the game scoreless.

Three minutes later, BBA wouldn't be denied. On a free kick from the 15-yard line, Pinkus hit a beauty, floated over the MAU wall and into the bottom corner of the net to take a 1-0 lead.

"It was a struggle back and forth, and then we got that set-piece," Pinkus said. "Our intensity picked up a bit and then in the second half, we crushed it."

Sky Woodard almost doubled the lead a couple minutes after that, but another shot hit the crossbar and being punched away by Breese.

MAU only needed a moment to strike and did in the 31st minute, when a Rebecca Crosier pass fell to the foot of Jordan Mattison, who put it past Herbert to tie the game at 1-1. Mattison's goal was her team-leading ninth of the year.

"Rebecca had a great game on the outside," Boudreau said. "She got in deep and put it into Jordan, who was composed on the finish."

Seven minutes into the second half, Burr and Burton scored to take a lead they would keep and it again came on a set-piece. After a foul set up the Bulldogs with a free kick, Boudreau screamed to his defenders to cover both Woodard and Pinkus. The Patriots were a step slow to respond to their coach's pleas and Woodard's free kick found Pinkus' head and she finished for the lead.

"[Good play on set-pieces] can separate a team and help them come out on top," Mears said. "We want to take advantage of our set-pieces and corner kicks."

At halftime, Pinkus said they talked about communication.

"You could really tell in the second half that our communication had improved by a lot," Pinkus said.

The Mount Anthony defense continued to battle, keeping a close eye on Woodard and Pinkus in the run of play. On one sequence, a misplay gave Pinkus a 1-on-1 with the goalie, but a Patriot defender got back just in time to block a shot.

Eventually, Pinkus got a little freedom and she used it perfectly. She took a touch and launched a rocket from 25 yards out to give BBA a 3-1 lead with 15:04 to go, her third score of the day.

"It's a problem every game, [defenses] are right on Sky and I, but we go into the game knowing that, so we work off each other and the [outside midfielders], passing and moving to get good shots."

Campbell added her first score of the year with 3:40 left, assisted by Piper Russell.

"We emphasize playing as a team, as a unit, and I wholeheartedly feel from the start of the year to now, we are playing selfless and for each other," Mears said. "That's helping us become successful."

MAU drops to 6-4, while BBA is unbeaten in its last five, improving to 5-4-1. The Patriots travel to Rutland on Thursday and BBA hosts Mill River on Friday at Applejack Field.


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