Second half play drives MAU over Panthers
To start this past week, MAU topped defending Division III state champion Stratton Mountain, but the Patriots were routed by Woodstock just two days later.
MAU needed something to cap this week off on a positive note and its win Friday provided that.
"We've had a very tough schedule and with a young team, if these guys don't win, they're not going to play their best," said Patriots coach Alex Cross. "A win like this was definitely what we needed, just as the win against Stratton was earlier in the week."
The comfortable outcome at the end wasn't always as clear Friday afternoon. The first half of the game was a quintessential see-saw battle from the first draw.
The Panthers grabbed the momentum early, but MAU wouldn't be far behind to grab the momentum right back into its favor.
The two teams traded momentum back and forth throughout the first two quarters, before Hoosick Falls took a one-goal lead into the half.
Early in the second half, the tide started to turn toward the Patriots. MAU started settling in on defense and found the open guy on most possessions. This allowed them to get shots close to the goal and they took full advantage, scoring six goals in the third quarter and two more in the fourth.
"We were man up for a lot of it, so that helped a lot," Cross said. "One of the biggest things was that everyone was on the same page. They brushed off our loss yesterday and came to play today. We started distributing the ball a lot better than we did."
Penalties were an issue for the Panthers in the second half.
"We're a great team man-to-man, but if we go into the penalty box, we're putting in guys with not a ton of experience," said Hoosick Falls coach Mark Marquart. "For us, it's really important for us to control our sticks and play a smooth game."
After giving up five goals in the first half, MAU goalie Chris Mayer was strong after the break. He gave up a pair of goals in the third, but held the Panthers off the board in the final frame.
"(Chris) gets down on himself a lot, but he also steps up a lot," Cross said. "Today was one those games where he brushed off the goals he gave up in the first half and moved on from there and was a lot better."
Owen Hansen led the way offensively for MAU with four goals, while Jeff Potter and Carson Morgan both had three goals. Matt Whitman and Cole Cross both scored one goal.
Guy Milliman had three goals to lead Hoosick Falls, while Zaine Becker and A.J. Hurlburt both had two goals.
Friday was also Senior Day for the Panthers, so the seniors were honored with their families before the game.
"I don't worry about making great lacrosse players. I try to make great young men," Marquart said. "If they're upset and sad about this and it makes them want to work harder, I hope this carries over into what they do post-lacrosse. That's the most important thing for me."
MAU improves to 3-9 on the season with the win.
With the struggles the Patriots found during their early season gauntlet, pretty much every game from here on out is a must-win.
"There's still a lot of room for improvement," Cross said. "In order to make the playoffs, we have to win them all."
Adam Aucoin can reached at email@example.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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