BRATTLEBORO -- It’s no wonder Halie Lange is a captain; she always seems to be leading the charge as her team goes into battle.
On Monday that battle ended in victory for Brattleboro, as the Colonels beat Bellows Falls, 5-1, in a varsity girls soccer game played on Sawyer Field.
"On paper, we looked strong against Bellow Falls, but we never underestimate anybody," said senior Lange. "I tend not to think about all the hype and just focus on the game."
As the Terriers failed to clear the Colonels’ first substantial drive, Lange sprinted out of the midfield to put Brattleboro’s first goal up about five minutes in. Lange broke away and punted her shot from the top of the box into the high left corner -- the furthest strike of the game.
But Lange wasn’t the only Colonel player who ignored the hype.
In the final few minutes of first half action, Anna Gagnon-Burch made her way down the right sideline, after previous attempts, to send a perfect pass across the grass to teammate Libby Annis, who slipped one by Terrier keeper Enny Mustapha for the Colonels’ second prize.
"Mustapha’s a really great goalie," said Brattleboro central defender Kara Piergentili. "She stopped all our high balls, so at halftime coach told us to take some lower shots."
That was good advice, as the Colonels put away three more before game’s end.
The team’s goal number three was courtesy
The Terriers had their sole goal from Corina Stack when she plowed through some loose defense midway through the last half, making it 2-1.
"We had some chances, but we ran out of gas in the last 10 or 15 minutes," said Bellows Falls coach John Broadley. "Stack’s shot was impressive and she made it look easy. We had fun. Brattleboro is always a challenge, and I think we held them okay."
Bellows Falls tried to counter Brattleboro’s attack after the break and played the long ball, but the Colonels had the speed in the backfield, making it difficult for the Terriers to get through and make anything happen, though they did have a couple nice drives. On one of those pushes, Stack was again (almost) successful.
Maddie Rollins gave the Colonels their fourth goal with a slow-motion floater that went just above Mustapha’s head.
"Sometimes you don’t play the best game you can, but somehow find five goals against a great goalie," said Brattleboro coach Edwin de Brujin.
de Brujin thought Mustapha could have been better if she had a little more help from the Bellows Falls defenders.
Brattleboro goalie Marissa Smith let Mustapha borrow her lucky keeper’s gloves before the game, but no amount of luck could keep the Colonels from stomping Terrier turf as the second half came to a close.
"Where’s the pressure?!" Mustapha asked her teammates just after the break. She had well over a dozen saves.
Bailey Paige scored the Colonels final goal, a quick bouncer that snuck in between the posts.
A regular presence on the field, Brattleboro’s Sarah Kendrick played for about 40 minutes before taking a seat on the bench for the remainder of the game, a bundle of ice wrapped around her lower right leg.
After colliding with an opponent in a matchup at MAU last week, Kendrick tore the connective tissue between her bone and muscle.
"I’m doing some light rehab," said the senior player. Kendrick is unclear if she’ll play in the team’s next game.
"We had some nice passing and decent shooting today," said de Brujin. "But we’ll have to step it up against Burr and Burton."
Brattleboro (3-2) hosts Burr and Burton on Wednesday at 7 p.m., and Bellows Falls (1-1-1) will host Poultney on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
David Aquino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 164.