MAV girls’ lax splits two games

SENIOR CASSANDRA GUILLEMETTE protects the ball against two Hartford players during Monday’s home setback for the MAV girls’ lacrosse team. The Commodores bounced back to win on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Mark Bouvier

VERGENNES — In a Monday rematch of the 2022 Division II girls’ lacrosse state final, defending champion Hartford pulled away in the second half to defeat the host Mount Abraham-Vergennes cooperative team, 13-4, in a rain-drenched affair. 

The Commodores bounced back the next day to knock off visiting D-I Burlington, 15-7, and even their record at 2-2. Their wins also include a recent victory over the defending D-I champion, BFA-St. Albans. 

Coach Marikate Kelley said the team is still seeking consistency, in part because or her early-season tinkering with its lineup to see how the versatile parts will fit together. Her roster lists six athletes who can play either attack or defense, three more who could play midfield or attack, and one who could line up at midfield or defense.

“I’m still figuring out where people are going to play,” Kelley said. “And I think once they get settled into where people are going to play, then they’ll start learning how to play better together.”

She said after Monday’s game the team is alternating playing “really well” and “not so well.”

COMMODORES NELL HARVEY and Reese Gernander defend Hartford’s Addison Cadwell on Monday, when MAV girls’ lax team fell to the visiting Hurricanes. The Commodores won at home on Tuesday.
Photo courtesy of Mark Bouvier

“Against BFA, we put good pressure on the transition. We got 30 ground balls,” she said. “And we didn’t get them today.”

Kelley said the fact the Commodores were losing the battles for ground balls on Monday was giving Hartford’s talented attackers too many opportunities to score, and her team too few. 

“We played some good defense, and we got the ball on the ground, and then we couldn’t pick it up, and that was a lot of possessions we lost,” Kelley said.

Still, the game was close for most of the first half. Audrey Rupp gave Hartford the lead in the second minute, but MAV attacker Carlyn Rapoport equalized a minute later. Her first bid from close range was denied, but Rapoport scooped up the rebound and tossed it home. 

About five minutes in, Madison Barwood spun around in the slot and finished hit in the upper left side to make it 2-1. At 14:56, Hurricane Addie Cadwell raced in and set up the first of four Alice Piper goals, and Hartford led by two. 

At 13:30, MAV midfielder Annie Dufault ripped a shot home from the middle of the fan to make it 3-2, but three minutes later, an unassisted Piper goal restored Hartford’s two-goal lead.

The MAV defense was holding up for most of this stretch — Anna Stilwell, Natalie Adams, Safi Camoura, Kennedy Denecker, Nell Harvey, Maris Laperle and Liana Gay all had good moments — and the Commodores scored two of the game’s next three goals to pull within one, at 5-4. 

MAV GIRLS’ LAX attacker Reese Gernander scoops a ground ball during the Commodores’ Monday home loss to Hartford. MAV won at home the next day.
Photo courtesy of Mark Bouvier

Dufault cut into the fan and took a feed from Cassandra Guillemette and fired her second goal home. After Barwood netted another Cadwell feed, Dufault, from the left side, set up Reese Gernander out in front of the Hartford goal for a high finish that made it a one-goal game at 2:58.

But Cadwell helped Hartford take the momentum back before the half. She took a feed from Nella Bowen on a free position and found the lower left corner, and with eight seconds left before the break raced the length of the field and fed Piper, who made it 7-4. 

The MAV defense held for a while after halftime, but Cadwell stole a clearing pass and stuffed a point-blank shot home at 19:24, and between 13:28 and 10:33, she scored three more times, converting back-to-back free position shots and then bolting through the MAV back line for another score to put the game out of reach.

Cadwell finished with five goals and six assists, Piper with four goals and an assist, and Rupp and Barwood with two goals apiece. 

MAV goalie Carley Cook numbered a couple of good stops among her six saves.

On Tuesday, Gernander (seven goals) and Dufault (five) combined for 12 goals as the Commodores defeated visiting Burlington by 15-7. Rapoport (goal, two assists), Harvey (goal, assist), Siena Stanley (goal) and Ruby Heller (assist) also contributed offensively, and Cook made seven saves. Three Seahorses each scored two goals, and the BHS goalie made three saves. 

COMMODORE GOALIE CARLEY Cook makes one of her six saves during the MAV girls’ lacrosse team’s Monday setback to visiting Hartford. MAV defeated Burlington at home the next day.
Photo courtesy of Mark Bouvier

Kelley said the Commodores improved on draw controls after moving Guillemette into the circle, and MAV performed better at both ends of the field after reviewing fundamentals before the game. 

“We used our warm-up to go over our offense and covering cutters on defense. We had a lot more cutters, picks, rolls and motion on attack and did better covering cutters as well as passing and catching in transition,” she said. “Most importantly, after a tough loss in a cold rain, they came back ready to learn and improve.”

Essentially, on Tuesday the Commodores lived up to what Kelley said after Monday’s game: “I think they’re stronger than how they played today.”

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