Eagle girls' soccer rules the day vs. Commodores
BRISTOL — It almost felt like Tuesday’s high school girls’ soccer game between host Mount Abraham and Vergennes was over before it started.
The host Division II Eagles, smarting from a rough stretch the week before, jumped on the Commodores quickly. They launched three shots in the first 4:20, scored on their third, and added two more goals in the first 23:03 in their 3-0 victory, one that clinched their Lake Division crown.
They outshot VUHS, 32-3, even though the Commodores had come in riding a four-game winning streak that had moved them into first place in D-III. As of Wednesday VUHS remained in second place in D-III at 8-4-1, and can probably nail down that No. 2 seed with a win on Friday over Spaulding, a team the Commodores have already routed this season.
But Co-Coach Peter Maneen said the Commodores will have to play harder moving forward.
“We didn’t get off the bus today. Frankly, we didn’t compete the way we needed to compete,” Maneen said. “And a lot of credit to Mount Abe. They’re a really good team. They jumped all over us, got us on our heels, and we didn’t recover from that.”
The 10-3 Eagles were coming off a 1-2 week that bookended frustrating one-goal losses at Rutland and Milton with their own romp over Spaulding. The setbacks cost them a shot at the top seed in D-II, but Tuesday’s win and another over 2-11 Middlebury on Friday will nail down at least a top-four seed. On Wednesday Mount Abe sat at No. 3.
Eagle Coach Dustin Corrigan said his team, which saw an eight-game winning streak snapped with their 3-2 loss at D-I Rutland on Oct. 7, might have been on cruise control before last week, but were motivated on Tuesday.
“If we had taken care of business last week, we’d be the No. 1 seed at the moment, but now we’re the No. 3 seed, and that’s maybe as high as we can get,” he said. “We certainly didn’t want to fall any further.”
Eagle striker Addy Harris gave the Commodores fits early on, forcing VUHS goalie Kate Gosliga to make two of her 15 saves before scoring with 4:20 gone. The play started when Eagle center midfielder Mae Peterson sent Harris down the right side with room to get up to speed. Harris bolted past the defense and along the endline before drilling the ball inside the near post.
Left middie Becca Laurent made it 2-0, not long after Gosliga denied her a first time. Striker Jessica Colbeth flicked a ball to Laurent cutting into the top left of the box. As Laurent neared the middle she found the far corner with a right-footed shot.
The Eagles earned three corner kicks, but VUHS center midfielder Emily Rooney had a hand in disrupting all of them, and Gosliga snared a long drive from Eagle center back Grace Harvey.
But the Eagles kept coming, and striker Juliette Snell made it 3-0. On a well-struck restart from Eagle center back Savannah Scrodin at midfield, Harris used her head to nod the ball to Snell in full stride approaching the center of the box. Snell split two defenders and pounded the ball inside the right post from about 12 yards out.
The Commodores launched their only shot of the half with six minutes to go, a Rooney left-foot bid from the 18 that rolled wide. That shot followed pressure created by striker Rhode Miguel and middie Hannah Kelly.
The Eagles kept firing in the second half, with 17 shots at goal, but Gosliga made eight more saves, including two on Laurent. Snell and Harvey also had chances.
Sydney Weber and Allie Croke shot for VUHS, but missed wide. Rooney also sent a dangerous free kick toward Kelly, who had room near the left post but couldn’t quite control before the Eagles arrived. Eagle goalie Justice Green did not make a save, but came off her line a few times to make sure balls served into the box caused no harm.
Coach Corrigan was pleased to see payoffs from tactical tweaks to play less directly and to involve the Eagle outside backs in the attack. He was also happy to see that the Eagles played with urgency.
“We might have been a little complacent last week, and struggled,” Corrigan said. “How we started that match and played that first half in particular, we looked focused and very ready again. That is where we want to be heading into the postseason.”
Maneen said he hopes the Commodores will learn from Tuesday’s game and remember their formula for success.
“Coming into today our backs have been doing well. We’ve been limiting the other teams’ offense. We have been finishing in the final third, creating opportunities,” he said. “Today will be a short-lived memory, hopefully, and we can get back to what has been successful for us, and that’s been coming out with intensity, winning the 50-50 balls, and getting the ball into that final third and moving it quickly and putting it into the back of the net.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.