by Richard Creaser
copyright the Chronicle 9-16-2013
NEWPORT — On paper, The Division 1 North Country Falcons should have had a good chance to defeat the Division 3 Peoples Academy Wolves. What divisional distinctions fail to recognize is that the Wolves were the state’s top Division 3 team last season lead by a then-junior Katie Stames. Stames put up gaudy numbers en route to the state title netting 43 goals and 20 assists in the 2013 season.
“I think the girls discovered they really could play with this team,” North Country Co-Coach Joe Batista said of his squad after Friday afternoon’s 3-2 loss. “We’re talking about the second best team in the state with an All-American player in Stames.”
The Wolves’ offense, boosted by Stames’ superb offense, also featured solid defense. It was a defense that had allowed only two goals all of last season including shut-outs in every single playoff game outscoring their four opponents 32-0 as they clinched the state DIII title.
Coach Batista was especially proud of how effectively Falcon senior Myra Degre contained Stames on the field.
“I thought, on the whole, we contained her pretty good,” Coach Batista said. “Myra contained her really good.”
Containing Stames was a key element in remaining competitive with the Wolves. Though Stames would be the first Wolf to put a mark on the score sheet less than three minutes into the game, the Falcons’ defense did a good job of cutting off her avenues of attack enabling the Falcons offense to come to life.
“You could almost say that that first goal won the game for them,” Coach Batista said. “That first goal really didn’t help us. It put us on our back heel.”
With 15 minutes left in the first half, the Wolves would strike again, this time as Hannah Merriam beat Falcons keeper Jenna Moss to give Peoples a commanding 2-0 lead. The Falcons generated a few good scoring opportunities in the first half but couldn’t maintain the offensive pressure needed to crack Peoples keeper Carrie Wan.
It was in the second half that the Falcons attack really came alive. Pressing on the attack, MyKayla Tanguay picked up a rebound off of Wan, ran past the sprawling keeper and scored the home team’s first goal to cut Peoples’ lead in half. The Wolves would regain their lead less than two minutes later when Kaitlyn Newton beat Moss to log the Wolves third goal of the game.
The Falcons continued to surge in the second half applying the most pressure they had all game in a last ditched effort to tie up the game. Witrh 3:49 remaining in the game Falcon Chelsea Bianchi would find net and cut the Wolves’ lead to a single goal.
“I thought we played a much better game than against Missisquoi,” Coach Batista said referring to the Falcons’ 1-0 loss on Wednesday. “I thought they never gave up. This was a strong team but they never gave up. That’s what we take out of this game.”
The Falcons return to action on Tuesday afternoon as they visit Lyndon Institute. The game has a scheduled 4:30 p.m. start.