Harmon header lifts BBA past MAU

MANCHESTER -- Win or lose, Rory Halligan's teammates would have wished the Burr and Burton Academy senior a happy birthday on Saturday.

And with one perfectly weighted pass, the midfielder returned the favor for double the birthday fun.

Late in regulation, Halligan's driven cross from the right wing found Jordan Harmon in position for a powerful header and the day's only goal as the Bulldogs slipped by rival Mount Anthony Union High School, 1-0, in girls soccer at Applejack Field.

"It's pretty exciting. It's a good day," Halligan said. "I'm just really proud of our whole team and how we played."

Wrestling back some control throughout the second half, the Bulldogs (7-3-2) staked the decisive tally after a corner, their 10th of the game, in the 76th minute.

Halligan corralled a deflection after the original delivery and fired right back at the far post where Harmon charged in head-first.

"I just crossed it again and Jordan, with her amazing headers, always gets it in. I could always count on her," Halligan said.

"That was just a really nice play," BBA coach Dan DeForest said. "But we'd been working toward that. The corner kicks we had some opportunities on, some flourishes in front -- it was a back-and-forth game, it was a toss-up."

Mount Anthony (8-2-1), which outshot the hosts 21-10 for the game, bossed the opening half with 11 shots and the bulk of the possession.

The Bulldogs' shut out was the first hung on the Patriots this season.

"That's as happy with a loss as I could be," MAU coach Mark Boudreau said. "[BBA] just play a very nice brand of soccer. I thought we had more chances and didn't capitalize but they had a great chance ... and a pretty goal."

In the 21st minute, MAU midfielder Colleen Hendery cut in from the left side and unleashed a shot in the top of the box but the effort, tracking for the top left corner, sailed into the left post and away from harm.

Later, two minutes into the second half, Kate Goodell was free in the box for a powerful volley. But that, too, sailed just wide across the goal and wide of the left post.

The loss was the second in a row for MAU, which started the season red-hot at 8-0-1.

"Our chances didn't go in and their best one did. That's the difference," Boudreau said. "You can play very well and not win and this was an example of it -- two days in a row.

"That first half, I told them, was the best soccer we've played this year."

Julie Elwell, the Patriots' starting goalkeeper, finished with two saves. BBA starter Joanna Jorgensen stopped six shots while Sam Sullivan, entering at halftime, stopped two.

"If score was the only thing we were looking at I'd be upset -- but it's not," Boudreau said. "We're in the playoffs. If we keep playing like this, I'll take our chances.

"These type of games are good. They're a gut-check."


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