BBA wins Lady Patriot Classic for fourth straight time

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BENNINGTON — Spinelli Field played host to the 17th annual Lady Patriot Classic final on a cold Saturday evening and saw the Burr and Burton girls soccer team win the tournament for the fourth straight season, this time with a 2-0 win over Mount Anthony.

The game began slowly, and as both teams settled in it became clear the Bulldogs would dictate the pace of the game, dominating the ball for much of the half, and keeping MAU in their own half of the field. The tip of the spear for the Bulldog offense was center forward Grace Pinkus, who kept MAU goalkeeper Madison Breese busy throughout.

Breese was forced to make difficult saves in traffic, colliding with Bulldog attackers on multiple occasions attempting to secure saves.

"She just never stops. She always wants it," said BBA coach Suzanne Mears.

The Bulldogs' best chance of the first half came in the 27th minute, when Pinkus received a deftly-executed through-ball from Rebecca Montaufray around a defender, and up the middle of the field to set up a partial breakaway but Breese made a diving save to keep the game scoreless.

Although the Bulldogs seemed to dominate the half, Mears thought there was room for improvement.

"We were kind of scrambling in the first half, a little disorganized, just a lack of communication," Mears said. "We were able to adjust in the second half, move some things around, and I'm really proud about how we adapted to that."

Heading into the second half tied at 0-0, the action began quickly for BBA. Pinkus got another nice shot in the 44th minute shot from the 18-yard box that sailed just over the crossbar. Another shot for her a few minutes later kept the pressure on the MAU defense.

All the pressure finally paid dividends for the Bulldogs in the 61st minute.

BBA's Emily Bleakie took a corner kick and after a scramble in front, the ball deflected off of a leg and into the net. Grace Petty was credited with the goal.

One minute later, Pinkus finished off one of her chances, taking a great pass from Maggie Sullivan and calmly finessed a shot past Breese to double the lead.

The Lady Patriot offense was limited in the first half and the entire game to just a handful of outside looks at the BBA goal and keeper Samantha Citron. Citron was rarely forced to handle the ball as the BBA defense kept her quarter of the field clean, and broke up most chances outside their own box.

A missed penalty in the final minutes of the game was one of the best chances for a score for the Patriots.

"It was a relatively even match, but we didn't capitalize on our chances and they did," said MAU coach Mark Boudreau. "Bar none, Maddy played the best game I've ever seen her play."

The offensive player of the game and defensive player of the game honors were awarded to Sullivan and Petty, respectively.

The consolation game of the Lady Patriot Tournament ended in a 2-1 win for Wahconah over Brattleboro.

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