SWANTON — MVU hosted Saint Johnsbury on Monday night in a game that shaped up to be an intense match-up between two solid teams.
Right away the intensity was on display with neither team finding an edge. Four minutes and 35 seconds into the 1st quarter the T-Birds managed a breakthrough. Sophomore forward, Bella Bigelow, was able to get a clean shot on goal, generating a rebound.
Junior midfielder Naomi Rose Edele was crashing the net and with a quick tap in, she didn’t let the opportunity go to waste.
When play resumed the Hilltoppers pushed back hard but were frustrated by the T-Birds, who were playing defense by committee.
Halfway through the 2nd quarter MVU drew a penalty, and senior defenseman Whitney Farnsworth buried the ensuing penalty shot to put the T-Birds up 2-0.
MVU played the rest of the game opportunistically, clogging up St. J’s passing lanes and keeping play away from the middle of the field. By playing this way they limited the Hilltoppers attack and generated turnovers, which the T-Birds would jump on to make quick rushes down field and create scoring chances.
“We did a lot of work on turnovers, we’re defense, defense, defense, and then when it turns attack, go! We did great with that today,” said Coach Mel Hurlbut.
Going into the 3rd and 4th quarters of the game, St. J pressed the attack but while MVU would bend, they would not break. With 6:35 left in the 3rd the Hilltoppers made an aggressive push into MVU’s end, creating a pretty good bid for goal when T-Birds goalkeeper Kali Favreau-Ward came a across the net with a sliding two pad stack save to keep MVU in the game.
In the 4th, a Hilltopper turnover lead to an MVU rush down the field where again Bigelow got the initial shot on goal and Rose Edele, this time waiting on the back door, found the rebound and stuffed it into the Hilltopper cage. The T-Birds ran out the last 4 minutes and 23 seconds on the clock without incident to clinch the shutout over the Hilltoppers.
“Playing on a Saturday and then playing on a Monday was tough. It was definitely clear that they (MVU) were getting tired, but if we can play like that tired, I’m very excited of what’s to come,” said Coach Hurlbut following the win.
All Photos: Ari Beauregard