Baker nets 100th goal, BBA tops MAU
BENNINGTON — It's the small things that make Burr and Burton boys lacrosse senior Jake Baker special.
It's the time he takes to mentor the younger players. It's the leadership role he takes both on and off the field. Last, but not least, it's his dazzling play with a lacrosse stick in hand.
Baker is truly a special player, and Tuesday afternoon against rival Mount Anthony, he reached an impressive accomplishment, scoring his 100th goal of his BBA career.
Baker and the Bulldogs went on to beat MAU 17-5 at Vets Home Field.
For Baker to reach that goal plateau, it took a lot of help from his teammates and those who came before him.
"It was very special and it's something every player hopes for, but more importantly, it was our most complete best game," Baker said. "We couldn't have done that without great teammates throughout the years. I had great players to look up to like Carter Vickers. He was someone I could always look up to and strive to be like."
"It shows you what he's accomplished over his four years and it's no easy feat," said BBA coach Tom Grabher. "What's even more impressive for me is the other little things he does like mentoring young guys, being a leader on the bench and on the bus and before practice. We're really blessed to have a kid on our team that thinks of more than himself."
When play started Tuesday afternoon, it was a quick rush up field by MAU that dealt the first blow.
Twenty-four seconds into play Nick Salem scored to put the Patriots up 1-0.
Baker scored about a minute later for the Bulldogs, and from there, BBA was in control of the game.
Following the Salem goal, the Bulldogs scored the next six goals of the game to take a commanding lead early on.
Logan Sands scored a goal fairly early in the second quarter, but MAU made a strong adjustment and started to slow down the BBA attack.
"Scoring the first goal was definitely huge for us because we got our momentum up," said MAU coach Alex Cross. "Then, they came back with some quick goals. We made some adjustments to slow them down and we held them tight."
With under 30 seconds to play in the half, the Bulldogs notched a pair of goals and that momentum followed them into the second half.
With the score at 9-3 heading into the second half, BBA took control with the next five goals, opening up an eleven-goal lead early in the fourth quarter.
"They came out in the second half and wanted it more than we did and it showed," Cross said. "We played better than our last game. We need to rebound from this. It really comes down to executing and we need to play for four quarters and not just the first and the third."
A big reason for the Bulldogs advantage throughout that second half was the play in the midfield and on defense. Whether it was scooping up ground balls, clearing balls out of their zone or just playing tight defense on MAU's top scoring threats, BBA had a clear advantage in that part of the field and it made all the difference.
"Those things don't show up on the scoreboard, but they're so instrumental in what we're trying to accomplish," Grabher said. "It's a mindset and we have a lot of kids with that competitive attitude that want to get that ground ball and want to get that clear and it's been very helpful for us as a team."
BBA has been at its best when they have a balanced offensive attack and it had that once again Tuesday. Baker and Egan Schmitt both had four goals to lead the Bulldogs. Logan Sands had three goals and Mark Carthy and Logan Morgan both had a pair.
BBA did a nice job of slowing down MAU leading-scorer Jeff Potter, but Potter did break through for a trio of goals in the game.
The Bulldogs improve to 5-1 and the Patriots drop to 1-2.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at email@example.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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