BRATTLEBORO -- It was nice while it lasted.
A Burlington goal with 8.6 seconds remaining dashed any further postseason dreams for the No. 8 Brattleboro girls lacrosse team, which lost 11-10 in a first-round playoff game at Natowich Field on Wednesday.
The visitors, a ninth-seeded team, jumped out to an early lead, but the Colonels (8-7) twice tied the score in an attempt to claw their way to a win. Many of Brattleboro's players were visibly distraught after the loss, but coach Shannon Garrett pulled her girls aside to share with them a journal entry she wrote after a team practice in March.
"We have incredible talent -- not the best in the state, but I have a feeling the heartbeat of this team is so strong, there is nothing we can't do together," Garrett read to her players, later telling reporters her sentiments are still the same. "My goal for the season is not to win games or State -- my goal is for us to love each other unconditionally, never question whether we could have worked harder, and to have a family for life."
The Seahorses (9-6) had developed a 3-1 advantage with 17 minutes left in the first half and it soon grew into a 5-3 lead. By the time Brattleboro's Megan "Dirt" Siggins scored with 4:59 to go before halftime, her goal narrowed Burlington's lead to 6-4. The Colonels pulled to within one when Cassidy Stebbins found the back of the net with 2:27 remaining.
Burlington got another two-goal lead in the beginning of the second half, but BUHS center Abbie Lesure danced and twirled around defenders to put a shot past the Seahorses' goalkeeper. Brattleboro's Alex Fellows, who tied with Hannah Lynde for a team-high three goals in the matchup, then tied the game at 7-all with 14:07 remaining in the game when she took possession of the ball behind the net and then turnedthe corner and forced in a shot.
"This team has a lot of fight in them. My goal for them every game is to never be outworked and to control the things that they can control, which is groundballs," Garrett said. "I thought the hustle to groundballs and loose balls was pretty intense, which is what really got us back in the game."
Burlington's Iris Buchanan scored three consecutive goals to give her squad a 10-7 lead, but that's when the Colonels set out for their second three-goal comeback of the game. Lynde notched a goal with 8:07 left, prompting cries of "We're still in this!" from the Brattleboro bench. BUHS scored again to inch closer to Burlington and then Lynde assisted on a Fellows goal to even the score with less than a minute to play.
The Seahorses came out of the ensuing face-off with aggression and tallied the go-ahead goal with 8.6 seconds to go. BUHS made a last-ditch effort to even the score again, but a pass downfield was picked off by Burlington as time ran out.
"In my opinion, (my players) just wanted it more, which just makes our game so much more heart-breaking," Garrett said.
She said Burlington will now square off against Burr and Burton.
Domenic Poli can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.