SWANTON - Bellows Free Academy-St. Alban's Matt Merrill notched the first goal for the Bobwhites early in the first half as they took on the Missisquoi Valley Union Thunderbirds in Swanton on Tuesday evening.
The Bobwhites went on to earn the 5-2 win, but not before the Thunderbirds tallied two early goals to tie and take the lead in the first half.
Garrett Fregeau's free-kick tied the game, and Ian Digby scored the go-ahead goal for MVU four minutes later.
MVU goalie Lucien Bushey came up with several key saves, including a point-blank save in the final five minutes, but BFA's Cameron Currier-Blaney found the back of the net to tie the game on a penalty kick with less than two minutes remaining in the half.
Four minutes into the second half, BFA's Joey Nachaczewaki scored the tie-breaking goal on a header.
MVU defender Jarrett Beauregard came up with a sliding save on the goal line to stave off a fourth BFA goal. But, minutes later, Charlie Thompson put the Bobwhites up by two.
At the 20 minute mark, Matt Merrill took off on a breakaway, scoring BFA's fifth and final goal.
MVU kept play in BFA territory as the second half waned, but the Bobwhites secured the victory.
Bobwhite coach Luke Laroche pointed out the positives he saw as the game progressed.
"We started to move the ball well in the second half, and our guys used their speed well to get some opportunities," said Laroche.
"These guys compete against each other in practice, they're hard on each other, and they keep it lively. They want to win, and they want to be better."
BFA senior Matt Merrill spoke about the difference between the first and second half of the game.
"We got in the huddle, got excited, and came out in the second half saying it was a zero-zero game," said Merrill. "We just needed to play like we wanted to win."
MVU didn't get the win, but coach Matthew Chevalier liked what he saw from his Thunderbirds.
"They decided to buckle up and play some soccer. I told them at the end of the game that they played one of the greatest halves I've seen them play," said Chevalier.
"It was incredible how we commanded the ball, and we commanded the possession. We took our chances when we needed to. It was a beautiful first half of soccer."