Balanced attack leads BBA over Essex

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MANCHESTER — During the preseason, Burr and Burton girls lacrosse coach Jamie Blake made it clear that her team would get its offensive production from a litany of players.

In BBA's season-opening game against Essex, that sentiment was on full display, as six different players scored in a 12-5 win for the Bulldogs over the Hornets.

"That's definitely a great way to kick off our season," Blake said. "We're slowing trying to find roles for everyone. Being 22 strong this year is definitely a big goal is always a big goal for us. We want to always compete and finish games strong. We were making the right choices and in the right places today."

Senior Olivia Watanabe is expected to have a big season for BBA, following a season where she was the Bulldogs' second-leading scorer. Watanabe more than came through in her role Friday, as she scored the final two goals of the first half for BBA and added two more in the second half to rack up a game-high four for the day.

Watanabe also assisted on another goal and had 13 ground balls, along with seven draws.

BBA wasted little time getting on the board, as senior Julia Fillion scored 25 seconds in. Annalise Lubas quickly answered with one for Essex, but Audrey Anglum was quick to give the Bulldogs their lead back, scoring one of her two goals very soon after the Lubas tally.

Heading into halftime up three goals, BBA once again showed its quick-score ability as tallies from Watanabe, Kerri Ann Campbell and Ava Marshall extended the Bulldogs' lead to six goals.

BBA's ability to infiltrate the Hornets' defense was spurred on by some great ball movement. The Bulldogs were constantly looking for the next pass and trying to put themselves in the best position for a shot at the goal.

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That was on full display on the Campbell goal, where BBA threaded the ball down the field perfectly to find Campbell, who was right around the crease.

"It's huge for us when we can work some patterns," Blake said. "When we can string five or six passes together without the ball dropping with constant ball movement and finding the open cutter around the goal, that's when we're firing on all cylinders."

Watanabe, Campbell, Marshall and Fiona McMahon all had assists for the Bulldogs.

A pair of goals to finish the hat trick from Fillion, another tally from Watanabe and a final insurance goal Stella Turner was more than enough to hold off the Hornets, who scored three times in the second half.

While the scoreboard would indicate that BBA was in total control of possession throughout Friday's game, that wasn't the case. Essex had many strong runs down field and had its scoring chances, but a strong effort by the Bulldogs' defense kept them pretty well in check.

"Our defense was huge today, especially in the re-defend not allowing the ball to cross below," Blake said. "Essex took advantage of its opportunities and had some very nice goals. We feel good defensively, especially with the way we were challenged today."

Cassie Pearce made four saves in the first half for the Bulldogs, before giving way to Lola Herzog in the second half, where the sophomore made three saves.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at aaucoin@benningtonbanner.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.


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