Bulldogs top Patriots, advance to finals

MANCHESTER - History was made on the field in front of Burr and Burton Academy on Tuesday.

In their first year in Division I, the BBA (15-2) girls lacrosse team topped Mount Anthony Union High School 15-9 to advance to the finals.

"It's pretty special. It's always special when you do something for the first time in school history," said BBA coach Dave Miceli.

The moment was not lost on team captain Brinn Dilworth either.

"It's really special being DI going to finals and hopefully we can keep it together during finals and not fall apart," said Dilworth.

The rivalry between the two teams only added to the intensity of the game and senior attacker Katy Jones - who led the Bulldogs with four goals - said she was pleased they picked up the win.

"It was great especially just because they're such a great team," said Jones. "Just to be able to compete with them was pretty awesome."

The Bulldogs came into the semifinal game against No. 4 seeded MAU (13-5) as the No. 1 seed in D I. And on Tuesday, they showed why.

BBA jumped out to an early 6-2 lead - their first two coming 17 seconds apart and just 39 seconds into the game - and didn't look back.

"Lacrosse is a game where having the lead, particularly in girls lacrosse, is always a huge advantage and you can start to control the pace of the game much more so," said Miceli. "The hallmark I think of a good team, is the ability to control the pace and we were able to do that today and take the shots we needed to take."

Erica Hale got MAU on the board about three minutes in before BBA rattled off four more goals in the next 1:38 - two of which were scored by junior midfielder Ryder Ferrone who had a hat trick on the afternoon.

BBA controlled the draw almost exclusively throughout the first half and took full advantage of the opportunities.

"I think we outdrew them 10 to 4 at the half and that was the score at the half," Miceli said.

MAU's Anne Peck brought the Patriots to within four goals with 16:30 remaining in the half, but the BBA offense was unrelenting. The Bulldogs picked up three more goals - the last two coming from Lauren Miskovsky and Aggie Biselle - with just under six minutes remaining to make it 9-2.

Emily Ahland - who led MAU in scoring with 5 goals - got one back for the Patriots though :39 seconds after Bisselle's score to make it 9-3.

"Emily, she's young. She's just a freshman, she's got a lot of learning to do, but she's a tremendous athlete. She has the potential to be a great athlete," said MAU coach Tom Otero. "She came in with great skills; a great ability. She really helped our team out tremendously this year."

Megan Grabher rifled a shot past MAU goalie Samantha Mayer (6 saves) off an assist from Hayley Sabol for the last BBA goal of the half with 2:18 remaining, but the Patriots got it back with :26 remaining to make it 10-4 going into halftime.

Sabol (3 goals) opened up the scoring just :15 seconds into the second half, firing a shot past MAU goalie Leah Olansky (4 saves) - who replaced Mayer in net - to put the Bulldogs on top 11-4, but MAU got it right back less than a minute later.

After Miskovsky and Jones scored a little over a minute apart, what appeared to be a save by BBA goalie Lauren MacKenzie - who had 11 saves in the contest - slowly rolled across the line to make the score 13-6.

After a goal by Altland with 15 minutes left, attacker Emily Cross scored her only goal of the afternoon.

The outstanding defense of Mary Leech limited the high-scoring Cross to one goal and an assist.

"Mary Leech played a fantastic game both athletically and then also emotionally and psychologically," said Miceli. "It's a tough position to face-guard, to really be keyed in on one thing for the whole time; to ignore ground balls, to ignore help defense, to ignore all that stuff and just focus on your one duty and understand that that's an important piece of the whole team component."

Thirty seconds after Cross' goal BBA scored again to go up 14-8.

With about 10:30 remaining and BBA in possession of the ball, they held; running down the clock until they found a good shot opportunity to go ahead 15-8 with 6:26 left to go.

BBA killed the clock for another two minutes later in the game, but MAU scored the game's final goal with 1:17 remaining.

Coming into this season, Miceli indicated that he believed the team had the potential to accomplish something special this season.

"At the beginning of the season as I looked at the group that was returning. I had 17 girls, 18 girls returning from last year's roster and I knew that these girls had the potential to develop into a real special group," he said. "They were willing to do a lot of the sacrificing; the putting aside of a lot of the independent egos and the individual statistics and really focus on becoming a team and because they did that we're here."

Follow on Twitter @BrandonCanevari


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