Colonel girls finish with 14-4 mark

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BRATTLEBORO — Coming down the stretch on Wednesday afternoon, the third-seeded Middlebury girls lacrosse team looked like an exhausted racehorse out in front that could hear a foe closing fast on the outside.

The defending state champs somehow held on.

No. 2 Brattleboro rallied from a four-goal deficit in the last 17 minutes, but ran out of time and lost to the Tigers 7-6 in the Division 1 semifinal on Natowich Field.

"All of our players worked really hard to get the ball, from the defense to the attackers. This was a great team effort today, and I am incredibly proud of the way that they played," said BUHS coach Michael Lonergan.

The home crowd began chanting "De-fense, de-fense!" in unison about five minutes in.

Liz Day and Megyn Ayotte each dislodged the ball using a stick check, Eliya Petrie made four saves, and the Colonels got important ground balls from Lila Alexander, Juniper DiMatteo-LePape, and Liv Stent, in the first 25 minutes of action.

At the other end, the visitors were switching on dangerous attacker Tobin Lonergan — using Satchel McLaughlin, Isabel Rosenberg, and Keagan Dunbar to shadow the sophomore. Senior goalie Raven Payne stopped all six shots that she faced in the opening half.

Rosenberg used her speed to score three fast break goals, giving the Tigers a 3-0 advantage at the intermission.

The midfielder's fourth goal came six minutes into the second half, but it was sandwiched by a pair of BUHS tallies. Samantha Martin's ground ball allowed Day to get the Colonels on the board before Ayotte attacked off of the draw to make it 4-2 and also bring the home crowd to life.

McLaughlin's back-to-back tallies made it 6-2 with 17:06 remaining, with the first being a free position goal and the second being a nice finish after cutting to the net.

The hustling Colonels seemed to get every ground ball the rest of the way, whether it was after a wild Middlebury pass or a stick check from behind by Day. Lucy Szpila intercepted a pass and Petrie robbed Andrea Boe from close range during the rally.

"The players were so resilient and determined today. Middlebury is a strong team, and we were right there with them. It was a physical game, but our players did not back down, even when we were down by four, and they fought right back until the final whistle," Lonergan stated. "It took us awhile to get adjusted to their backer defense. However, our attackers moved the ball much better in the second half to get our scoring chances."

Brattleboro finished on a 4-1 run, thanks to a couple of goals each from Sam Cragin and Day. Cragin's second tally made it 7-6 with three seconds left.

The finish line came just in time for the visitors.

The Colonels, who beat Rutland in double overtime in a quarterfinal, finished the season with a 14-4 record. The 13-3 Tigers will face Champlain Valley Union (16-2) in Friday's state championship game at UVM.

Box Score — Brattleboro goals (Liz Day 3, Sam Cragin 2, Megyn Ayotte 1). Middlebury goals (Isabel Rosenberg 4, Satchel McLaughlin 3). Brattleboro assists (Ayotte 1). Middlebury assists (Ella Nagy-Benson 1). Brattleboro saves (Eliya Petrie 7). Middlebury saves (Raven Payne 9).

Middlebury roster: Coach — Brandi Whittemore. Players — Ada Anderson, Malia Hodges, Emily Laframboise, Isabel Rosenberg, Lacey Greenamyre, Satchel McLaughlin, Abigail Gleason, Ella McKhann, Kaitlyn McNamara, Ella Nagy-Benson, Tulley Hescock, Olivia Beauchamp, Andrea Boe, Pheobe Smith, Ciara Eagan, Sarah Broughton, Anna Hodson, Keagan Dunbar, Lydia Deppman, Raven Payne.

Brattleboro roster: Coach — Michael Lonergan. Players — Bri Paul, Olivia Romo, Liv Stent, Molly Patenaude, Lucy Szpila, Sam Cragin, Venus Fu, Haley Kuralt, Megyn Ayotte, Melia Allen, Liz Day, Samantha Martin, Juniper DiMatteo-LePape, Avalon Johnston, Lila Alexander, Eliya Petrie, Tobin Lonergan, Lauryn Sargent.


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