Mount Abe girls’ soccer holds off Middlebury Tigers

BRISTOL — The Mount Abraham Union High School broke through for two early goals and controlled most of the action in what could be a pivotal victory on Saturday, 2-1, over visiting Middlebury.
The win moved the Eagles to 3-3-1 and came after a disappointing loss at Spaulding four days earlier, when they had the run of play, but lost, 2-0.
Other than scoring twice in their opener and then four times against 0-7 Missisquoi, the Eagles had scored once and been shut out three times in their other four outings.
Junior midfielder and tri-captain Mae Peterson, whose Saturday goal about eight minutes in made it 2-0, said she hopes Saturday’s game can mark a turning point.
“I’m hoping we’re out of our rut and going uphill from here … We’ve lost because we haven’t been able to finish, so we’ve really been working on it in practice,” Peterson said. “So hopefully we’ll be starting to put them in.”
Eagle Coach Dustin Corrigan said just two goals a game would more often than not that would be enough to win. He pointed to the Spaulding game, which Mount Abe lost, 2-0, despite outshooting the Tide by 15-4.
On Saturday Corrigan said he saw some of the team’s focus on transitioning to the attack and finishing pay off.
“We started to do some nice stuff,” he said. “Especially in the first part of the game when we scored twice we were doing it really well.”
MUHS Coach Wendy Leeds’ team fell to 1-5. A Tiger defense anchored by Carlisle Brush and Gwen Stafford in the middle settled down after the early onslaught, she said, and she saw flashes of good midfield and attacking play, notably on Ivy Doran’s late goal. But Leeds would like to see more consistency from her young team.
“I thought we brought our intensity up at the end of the first half and then had more strong play in the second half,” Leeds said. “I don’t know if we lose focus or what happens, but there’s kind of a drop-off in our play, and we’re obviously working on that.”
The Eagles took the lead 32 seconds in, when junior midfielders Becca Laurent and Chloe Johnston, both of whom had strong games on the flank, combined. Johnston sent Laurent down the right side, and Laurent gained a step on the defense. She served toward the back post from near the sideline, and possibly aided by the breeze her blast soared over Tiger first-half goalie Carly Burger, just under the crossbar, and into the far netting.
Seven minutes later a play that started on the right side ended with the ball bouncing to Peterson, about 24 yards straight out from the Tiger net. Peterson laced a shot into the lower right corner, again giving Burger (two saves) no chance.
The Tigers developed some possession as the half went on, with forward/midfielders Ada Anderson and Merry Kimble and midfielder Ivy Doran creating chances for striker Isadora Luksch, in particular. But for the most part Peterson and her Eagle center middie running mate Addy Harris consistently won the ball and distributed it well as the Eagles outshot the Tigers, 8-3 in the half and 20-6 overall.
“They’ve been great all year. They’re so good winning the ball there,” Corrigan said.
Burger came out to deny Laurent in the 18th minute, her best save, and Eagle goalie Justice Green (two saves) stopped Anderson late in the half.
Tiger second-half goalie Julia Bartlett made seven saves, at one point denying both Laurent and a Johnston rebound from point-blank. Kimble ripped a shot 10 minutes in, but the Eagle defense knocked it down: Emma Campbell and Eliana Ginsburg in the middle and Grace Harvey and Savannah Scrodin on the flanks all played well.
The Tigers had chances. Scrodin broke up a Kimble bid, and Anderson hit the crossbar. They finally broke through with a pretty goal with six minutes left. Brush carried from the back on a counter and sent the ball to Kimble on the right. Kimble fed Doran cutting to the 18, and she pounded the ball inside the right post.
But the Eagles had the only chance the rest of the way: Harris headed the ball off the right post on a Peterson corner kick.
TIGER FRESHMAN HANNAH Turner advances the ball and stays a step ahead of Eagle sophomore Eliana Ginsburg during Mount Abraham’s 2-1 win Saturdy.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell
Leeds saw progress in the sound defense and flashes of good play up the field.
“We’re still sort of figuring things out. I was happy overall. I think with the exception of a few of those drop-offs in intensity we played closer to 80 minutes today,” she said. “And I think we’re still getting better every game, which is the goal.”
Peterson said as well as scoring the Eagles’ ball movement played a big role in Saturday’s game.
“We’re passing and making those triangles, and that’s really our game,” Peterson said. “Our touches were working for us.”
Overall, Corrigan said he is encouraged.
“We’ve got a good group here. They stick together. They’re very positive,” he said. “And the goals are starting to come.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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