BRISTOL — The Mount Abraham Union High School girls’ soccer team broke through for a season-high scoring goal total on Saturday and claimed a 3-1 victory over visiting Middlebury.
Eagle freshman Evy Jacobs scored just 30 seconds into the game, and senior Liza duPont and sophomore Jena Whitaker added second-half strikes against an MUHS team that, although winless, had allowed just two goals in its previous four games.
First-year Mount Abe coach Dustin Corrigan said the work the 3-6 Eagles have put into their offense paid off on Saturday, as did the team’s recent emphasis on playing more simply and directly up to its talented young forwards.
“We’re definitely getting better. We’re creating more chances offensively. We’re doing a little better in the midfield, keeping the play in front of us, winning the 50-50s, getting the ball settled and getting it forward,” Corrigan said. “We’ve been focusing on ways to create more goal-scoring chances, to get into the opponents’ box more and follow shots to the goal, frame the goal, focus on that kind of stuff. And the girls really did what we asked.”
MUHS coach Jen Clark saw progress in the fact her 0-6-2 team applied some pressure in the second half, when the Tigers outshot the Eagles, 8-4, and earned a 4-2 advantage in corner kicks. Clark said the senior middie Eliza Carver’s somewhat unlikely goal — a 40-yard shot that high-hopped over Eagle back-up goalie Gwen Merrill — maybe will break the ice for her team.
“I felt like it was a pretty even game and we actually created some chances. It’s funny, because our goal was probably the least likely of our chances,” she said. “We are starting to create more, and we just can’t quite break through. So maybe this will be the start.”
Jacobs' strike came from the top of the box after the MUHS defense failed to clear a duPont serve decisively. Jacobs’s shot hit the inside of the left post and bounced in past Tiger first-half goalie Sara Boudah (three saves).
The teams contested most of the rest of the half at midfield. Emily Sundstrom, Casey Ogden and duPont showed well there for Mount Abe, and Carver, Emily Fleming, Liz Kelley and Jane McCabe had good moments for MUHS. On defense, Eagles Jenn Gibson, Colleen Charnley, Nicole Norland and Sophie Owen-Jankowski were effective, and after the early breakdown the Tiger backline of Rosalie Wright-Lapin, Alora Kelley, Lauren Betourney and Danielle Shaw settled in.
Eagle starting goalie Shanna Gebo came off her line to break up a couple threats, both times colliding with Tiger forward Chloe Myhre. The first time, Charnley cleared a loose ball out from the goal mouth. After the second collision, Gebo (two saves) had to leave the game, and Merrill (four saves) took over.
duPont made it 2-0 at 28:21 of the second half. Gibson sent in a free kick, and the Tigers headed it out to duPont, whose 16-yard one-timer went high into the net past MUHS second-half goalie Sydney Reigle (three saves).
MUHS gained more territory, and freshman Britta Clark had good chances, one set up nicely by McCabe and another on a Shaw corner kick. But the Eagles struck next. Ogden sent a high ball down the middle of the field, and Whitaker won a battle for it with the Tiger defense about 40 yards out from goal and went in alone. She buried a high, 12-yard shot at 15:15.
Carver struck in her high bouncer in at 5:14. The Tigers also had chances from Nicole Brown, who headed a corner kick just wide; Alora Kelley, who hit a strong direct kick sail high; and Fleming, whose bid on a corner kick was blocked by duPont.
Clark said the Tigers will keep plugging.
“The girls are doing well and keeping their spirits up even though we’re not scoring as much as we’d like,” she said. “But we’ve been playing better, and hopefully we can keep building on that and scoring.”
Corrigan said the recent change in offensive emphasis may be just the ticket for his Eagles.
“It’s nice to see it that quickly pay dividends,” he said. “So I’m pretty happy with it. We’ve got a little momentum now.”