by Richard Creaser
copyright the Chronicle 10-1-2013
NEWPORT — All it took was 48 seconds for the Spaulding Crimson Tide to score two goals and carry the day over the host North Country Falcons on Saturday morning. Spaulding would not record a goal before, nor any after, and that’s what North Country Coach Chantelle Bouchard was happy about.
“I thought we played an amazing second half,” Coach Bouchard said. “We didn’t let any goals in!”
The play through the first half was fairly equal with the Falcons pressing early and the Crimson Tide gaining the advantage later on. While North Country generated some good chances, advancing down the lines, a stingy Spaulding defense kept the Falcons out of the middle, reducing their scoring chances.
“I really think we should have used our wings more,” Coach Bouchard said. “When we went into the middle it wasn’t good.”
Spaulding would open the scoring at 16:18 in the first half when Kassandra Perantoni cut through the center, expertly weaving past the Falcons defenders and beating North Country goalie Myrriah Gonyaw to give the Crimson Tide a 1-0 lead. Forty-eight seconds later, Nichole Weeks, following almost exactly the same path as Perantoni, would knock in another and add to Spaulding’s lead.
“After that first goal we kind of got down on ourselves,” Falcon Mara Spates said after the game. “I think it showed on the second goal.”
Whatever malaise affected the girls after the first goal evidently dissipated after the second. It was with a renewed sense of purpose that the Falcons closed out the first half and went into the second.
While generally pleased with the effort her team put on the field Saturday, Coach Bouchard acknowledged that there were some things the team needed to work on. It was difficult to build forward momentum when technical issues forced turnovers.
“We had some good chances,” Coach Bouchard said. “But we had a lot of feet. Feet kills us.”
Despite allowing two goals, the Falcons defense was fairly solid on the whole. Gonyaw made saves on 11 of the 13 shots to make it through her defenders. Spates acknowledged that the defense could have been tighter, limiting the number of opportunities the Crimson Tide had against the Falcons goalie.
“She played the way she needed to play,” Spates said of Gonyaw. “As a team we need to be better at stopping drives. We can’t let them take as many shots.”
Eliminating the momentum halting technical errors, making better use of the wings, and catching a few lucky breaks might be the catalyst the Falcons offense needs to score. While North Country generated some solid scoring opportunities, they struggled to finish.
“We just couldn’t put it in,” Coach Bouchard said. “Spaulding is a very good Division II team.”
North Country, a DIII squad, has fared well against divisional opponents, boasting a 3-0-1 record. Their last two contests, a 3-0 loss against Harwood and Saturday’s loss to Spaulding, are the only blemishes on the Falcons season so far and both losses came against DII teams.
“We played so much better than we did against Harwood,” Spates said. “I think we played really well, especially in the second half.”
The Falcons hope to return to their winning ways on Friday, October 4, as they host the DIII Missisquoi Valley Thunderbirds at 3:45 p.m. In their only prior meeting on September 9, the Falcons won 4-1.
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