In girls soccer: Falcons blank visiting Rebels 1-0

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Dasha Plotnikov (left) and Mykayla Tanguay lock arms to defend against a throw-in.  Photos by David Dudley
Dasha Plotnikov (left) and Mykayla Tanguay lock arms to defend against a throw-in. Photos by David Dudley

copyright the Chronicle October 22, 2014

by David Dudley

NEWPORT — The South Burlington High School Rebels traveled to Newport to play the North Country Union High School Falcons Friday. A single goal determined the winner of this hard-fought match, as the Falcons pulled off an impressive 1-0 win on their home pitch.

Dehlia Wright scored the game’s only goal with 13:54 left in the first half, leaving the burden to score on the Rebels for the remainder of the game.

“For us, it’s a big win,” Falcons Coach Jose Batista said. “We were expected to win on our home pitch, and the Rebels are a metropolitan team.”

The Falcons win may be chalked up to sticky defense led by senior Mykayla Tanguay and a wink from Lady Luck.

Due to the teachers strike at South Burlington High School — which went into effect on Tuesday, October 14 — the game was nearly canceled. South Burlington High School had been cleared to play earlier that day, as contract negotiations between the teachers union and the school board carried on into their fourth day. Still, that didn’t keep the Rebels from playing on a high level.

The Rebels spent the entire second half of the game threatening to score, but just couldn’t get the ball in the net.

“We played very well,” Rebels interim Coach David Martin said. “I’ve never worked with these girls before, but we were all over the Falcons. Especially in the second half.”

Falcons keeper Madeline Ferorelli had 12 saves. Many of those shots came in the second half. Ferorelli faced a barrage of Rebel shots, as Posie Nash-Gibney caused all kinds of problems for the Falcons. Not only was Nash-Gibney lightning quick, but also her acrobatic flip throw passes — where she uses a somersault to throw the ball into about the 18 yard line — kept the Falcons defense on their toes all game long.

The pass, which some soccer purists see as a gimmick, gives Nash-Gibney awesome range. It could be dismissed as a gimmick, if her accuracy wasn’t so spot on. In fact, each time Nash-Gibney took the ball out in Falcons’ territory, the result was a shot on goal.

The Rebels Posie Nash-Gibney demonstrates her awesome flip-throw against the Falcons, Friday.
The Rebels Posie Nash-Gibney demonstrates her awesome flip-throw against the Falcons, Friday.

The Falcons put Tanguay and Dasha Plotnikov in front of Nash-Gibney, but all they could do was watch on, arms locked, as the ball zoomed over their heads and on toward center. Falcons defenders clumped together around keeper Ferorelli, because they knew the shot was coming. Throughout the second half, the shots were always coming, sometimes in bunches.

“Usually the scouts tell me something about a player like that,” Coach Batista said. “We weren’t prepared for it, but we did the best we could.”

The Falcons defense held tight, deflecting shot after shot. Those shots that weren’t deflected somehow couldn’t find the goal. It was as though there was some unseen force field humming around the Falcons net. One Rebel shot sailed over the net. Another curved wide. Another was poked out by Ferorelli’s fist. Yet another flew directly into her gloves.

Shot after shot, all game, the Rebels kept missing. Some shots were accurate; others were a little off. With ten minutes left in the first half, the Rebels kicked a ball high, and it sailed into a goal. But that goal was out of service and placed off the field directly behind the Falcons goal.

“The ball was in Falcons territory all game,” Coach Martin said. “We just couldn’t get one through. We just couldn’t get one.”

The Rebels had one last shot with about a minute left to play. Nash-Gibney used her flip throw to put the ball dead center, where Kayla Gilding was waiting. Gilding sent a header straight towards an opening in the defense, but the ball kept flying higher and higher. Ferorelli watched on until the ball cleared the crossbar. The disappointment deflated the Rebels.

“At times, we struggled to win in the midfield,” Coach Batista said. “But we put the ball in the net, once. In a game like this, that’s all it takes.”

Indeed. The game was much like a chess match, where each side is waiting for the other to make one mistake. One mistake is often all it takes for the opponent to unravel. In this case neither the Falcons nor the Rebels were willing to make that mistake. They both played a near perfect game, but the Falcons held onto a narrow margin to edge out the Rebels.

From left: Brooke Breault, Rebel Ellie Riehle, Mykayla Tanguay, Madeline Ferorelli, and Katelyn Briere brace up as Posie Nash-Gibney's flip-throw makes its way toward the goal.
From left: Brooke Breault, Rebel Ellie Riehle, Mykayla Tanguay, Madeline Ferorelli, and Katelyn Briere brace up as Posie Nash-Gibney’s flip-throw makes its way toward the goal.

Five of those Falcons are preparing to leave the nest. Brooke Breault, Kathryn Daigle, Madeline Ferorelli, Emilie Paul, and Mykayla Tanguay are all seniors, and that was their final home game in a Falcons uniform.

The Falcons win puts them at 5-6-2 on the season.

“It’s good to take a win like this into the post-season,” Coach Batista said. “We want to stay organized and bring that high energy to the playoffs.”

contact David Dudley at [email protected]

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