Sports

Commodore girls’ lax wins opener then falls to D-I team

SENIOR ANNIE DUFAULT fires a shot during the MAV girls’ lacrosse team season-opening win over Stowe this past Thursday. Dufault led MAV with four goals.
Independent photo/Steve James

MAV SENIOR KENNEDY Denecker has inside position on a Stowe player for the ground ball win in the Commodores’ opening victory on this past Thursday.
Independent photo/Steve James

BRISTOL — The Mount Abraham-Vergennes cooperative girls’ lacrosse team opened its season by splitting two home games late last week. The Commodores claimed their opener on Thursday, April 11, against fellow Division II school Stowe, and on Saturday fell to a potential D-I title contender, Essex, 10-4.

Both those games were played at Mount Abe due to wet field conditions in Vergennes. On Tuesday, Coach Marikate Kelley’s 1-1 Commodores are scheduled to visit Hartford, typically a strong D-II side.

On April 11 the Commodores opened with a 9-3 victory over visiting Stowe. Annie Dufault (four goals) and Anna Stillwell (three goals and an assist) led the MAV attack against the Raiders. Meredith Dufault added a goal and an assist, Ruby Hellier scored once, and Kennedy Denecker chipped in an assist. Goalie Carley Cook made 10 saves.

“Overall, (it was) not a bad start, particularly recognizing that we have mostly been practicing inside,” wrote Kelley in an email. “We did a great job re-defending, making it difficult for Stowe to get into their attacking end. When they did get shots off Carley was strong in goal. Our ride and Carley’s work in goal was the reason we came out on top.”

Unsurprisingly for a young team, Kelley said, there were details that MAV needed to address in its first game, such as playing “with our feet and not our sticks,” and therefore cutting back on fouls on defense, and making better decisions “on attack and in transition.”

MAV SENIOR ANNA Stilwell moves the all up the field against pressure from Stowe in her team’s opening victory this past Thursday.
Independent photo/Steve James

“We have many new young players on varsity and are learning to play together,” she added. “I expect that will come together as we get outside more.”

In fact, she saw some progress in those areas even in a setback on Saturday, when D-I Essex pulled away from a 5-4 halftime lead to prevail over MAV, 10-4. Addison Stratton scored three goals to lead the talented Hornets, and Eliza Martin, Breya Montague and Reese Holcomb added two goals apiece. Essex goalie Sierra Harris made six saves.

Stillwell led MAV with two goals and an assist, Annie Dufault scored a goal and set up two, and June Yates-Rusch added a goal and an assist. In goal Cook made 16 saves, 12 in the first half.

JUNIOR RUBY HELLIER defends a Raider ballcarrier during the MAV lacrosse team’s season-opening win over Stowe this past Thursday.
Independent photo/Steve James

Kelley said Montague dominated the draw, giving Essex a possession advantage, and the Hornets made it difficult for the Commodores to move the ball up the field.

SENIOR ANNIE DUFAULT powers through a Raider’s check during the MAV lacrosse team’s season-opening win over Stowe this past Thursday.
Independent photo/Steve James

“We struggled on the draw against a strong and much taller Essex (player) Breya Montague. We also had difficultly clearing the ball against a strong Essex ride,” she said.

But she also saw areas of improvement.

“We took better care of the ball and were more patient on offense,” she said. “The defense put in a solid performance with good slides and crashes, causing several offensive fouls.”

 

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