Tiger girls soccer team outscores stubborn Vergennes squad
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Union High School girls’ soccer team scored twice early in Monday’s second half to snap a 1-1 tie on the way to a 4-2 victory over stubborn Vergennes.
The Tigers improved to 3-0 and racked up 15 goals in those games.
On Monday senior Andi Boe scored twice, including the go-ahead goal a minute after the half, pushing her season total to seven. Senior striker Isabel Rosenberg and junior middie Ailey Bosworth notched the other goals.
Boe said the Tigers’ fast start is due in part to seven senior and three junior starters who know each other well.
“We’ve played together for a long time, so it’s gelled really early this year,” Boe said, adding, “All the plays up to the shots are definitely looking a lot crisper than they have been in the past, and I think it’s just coming together. Every year before this it’s started to (gel) by the end of the year, and this year I think we just picked up where we left off.”
The Tigers probably played their best in the first half. VUHS Co-Coach Dwight Irish agreed it took a while for his less-experienced team — VUHS (1-2) started two sophomores and two freshman — to start challenging the Tigers.
“When we finally got into the rhythm of the game we were playing with them,” Irish said. “We started being aggressive on the 50-50s. We started moving the ball. It was evident. But that was 25 minutes into the first half. That’s the unfortunate thing. When we stepped up and started pressuring the ball, we were capable of knocking the ball in.”
Tiger Coach Wendy Leeds saw it about the same way.
“We scored fewer goals in the first half when the soccer looked better. I tend to like it better when the soccer looks better,” Leeds said. “I would have liked to see us retain our shape and organization better than we did.”
She also credited the Commodores for taking it to the Tigers after falling behind by 3-1. VUHS began to move the ball better and play with more assertion and poise, and pulled within a goal at 18:29 when sophomore middie Emily Rooney struck for a second time.
“I would definitely give them kudos for digging in and finding the grit to throw us off our game slightly,” Leeds said. “That’s good learning for us, too. Hopefully we won’t let that happen again going forward.”
Irish appreciated the Commodores’ heart.
“That’s a piece you’ve got to have,” Irish said. “They didn’t hang their heads.”
Bosworth gave MUHS the lead in the second minute. Senior middie Helen Anderson — who defended and won and distributed the ball well — angled a left-to-right through ball to Bosworth breaking into the VUHS box toward the right post. Bosworth drilled a 15-yard shot inside the left post, giving VUHS senior goalie Anya Sonwaldt (credited with 10 saves) no chance.
The VUHS defense of junior Sophie Hatch and sophomore Emma Bryant in the middle and senior Hannah Paquette and junior Rayven Perkins on the flank held up the rest of the half, while senior midfielder Emma Husk blocked a Rosenberg shot at the 18, and Sonwaldt stopped Anderson in the late going.
VUHS equalized at 15:31. Freshman middie Sydney Weber sent a corner kick into the box, and it bounced to Rooney at the 18. Rooney fired on net, and Tiger senior goalie Abby Gleason could not contain the high shot.
Boe wasted little time in the second half. Junior middie Emily Laframboise passed across the top of the box to Boe, and she ripped a high shot home off Sonwaldt’s fingertips.
VUHS had a chance at the other end, but Tiger sophomore goalie Carly Burger (two second-half saves) corraled a serve that senior striker Kaitlyn Brace sent to charging freshman middie Hannah Kelly.
Then the Tigers made it 3-1. Boe struck a corner kick from the right side that junior middie Ada Anderson could not control near the penalty stripe. The ball bounced back to Rosenberg, open a couple yards away, and she ripped the ball into the upper left corner.
The Commodores started to carry play, but the Tiger backs, notably senior stopper Sierra Barnicle and sophomore sweeper Gwen Stafford (senior Alexa Lapiner played well at sweeper in the first half), limited their chances and triggered counterattacks.
Sonwaldt stopped Ada Anderson, Anderson also missed wide with two Tigers lurking, and Perkins blocked a sure goal in a scrum on a corner kick.
Finally Rooney struck when the Commodores forced a poor clear. The ball bounced to Rooney outside the top of the box, and her lefty blast hit the upper left corner in the 22nd minute.
VUHS kept coming, but Stafford stopped a Weber run, and a Burger took care of a Kelly cross. In the final seconds, Boe broke into the left side of the box and pounded a short shot under the crossbar to make it 4-2.
Irish expects his young team to continue to improve and become more consistent.
“There were little mental pieces that just resulted in some of the goals. Not from lack of trying but just lack of experience,” he said. “I think we’re already ironing them out. Our freshmen are already playing great. They’re playing with a lot of poise and without worry, and it shows. Time will definitely help.”
Leeds would like to see one of her defenders become a vocal leader to improve the Tigers’ organization in the back, but said she is “pretty happy” with her team.
“This is probably the most goals we’ve scored this early in the season, maybe even in a whole season, in a while,” Leeds said. “We’ve been working a lot on through balls and setting each other up by sending balls into small open spaces, and it’s happening now. And I think we’re capitalizing on it.”
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