by Richard Creaser
copyright the Chronicle 9-8-2013
NEWPORT — Last spring the United Christian Academy Crusaders were recognized for their sportsmanship in basketball at a ceremony just prior to the start of the playoffs. Sportsmanship has always been a hallmark of the UCA athletic program. It entails comporting oneself with dignity whether in triumph or defeat. On Friday afternoon, much to the dismay of the players and their fans, it was tested during a lopsided 17-0 loss to the visiting Craftsbury Academy Chargers.
“I felt super bad about the score,” Craftsbury head coach Ashley Maxfield said after the game. “I don’t like to see that happen to anyone. We’ve played with no subs too and I know how tough that can be.”
Conditions were ripe for an upset when the Chargers, featuring a deep bench and a solid corps of experienced players, met up with UCA’s empty bench and a squad of players new to the team and some even new to the sport. UCA Coach Lyne Limoges took the loss in stride.
“We’re definitely a rebuilding team,” Coach Limoges said. “We graduated out four seniors last year and started our first game of the season against Winooski with only nine players.”
Luckily some relief does appear to be in sight for the Crusaders. Coach Limoges reports that three additional international students will be joining the team in the next few days. While the addition of three players will provide some bench depth it may also mean a slightly longer transition to find the right team chemistry.
“We really haven’t had that many opportunities to practice together so that’s something we’re still working on,” Coach Limoges said. “We lost our first game to Winooski 5-0, but I think we played a really good game. I’m actually looking forward to the rematch on Wednesday with a full team and some subs.”
Coming out of the first half, Crusader keeper Andreanna “Drew” Andrews was clearly distraught at her team’s early nine-goal deficit. What Andrews had not realized was that she had already turned aside 17 shots in the first half of the game alone. Her heroics in net did not go unnoticed by her teammates.
“She just started playing goal this year so that was only her second game,” UCA Captain Moriah Lafoe said. “That’s a lot of pressure for a sophomore. She did everything we could have expected out there.”
Fatigue was a definite factor for UCA as the game wore on into the second half. The inability to put in substitutes wore down the Crusaders allowing the Chargers to put up eight more goals in the second half.
“We worked hard the whole game but we just couldn’t keep up,” Lafoe said. “We gave up too many chances against Drew.”
During the halftime Coach Limoges said that Andrews was given an opportunity to switch out from nets. The trooper that she is, Andrews returned to her post without complaint determined to live up to the Crusader’s team motto and “represent.”
“She’s not giving up,” Coach Limoges said. “She’s giving it her best and I’m proud of her for that. We need to work better as a team and try to eliminate some of those shots on net.”
On the Craftsbury side things were respectfully subdued. Coach Maxfield was pleased at the level of communication between her players. The Chargers did a fine job of reading the field and placing themselves to achieve results.
“The ladies are working really well together as a team,” Coach Maxfield said. “We need to keep up that same type of play through the season. We need to see the play and make sure to run to those open spaces.”
The Craftsbury girls return to action at Concord on Wednesday, September 11, with a 3 p.m. start. The Crusaders travel to Concord on Monday, September 9, with a 3:30 p.m. start followed by a home game rematch with Winooski at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 11.
Contact Richard Creaser at [email protected]