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NEWPORTâ€“After going down 1-0 in the first half, the North Country girls soccer team rallied and came back to win their ninth game of the season 2-1.
"This (Spaulding) is a quality team out there. They have just two losses on the year and this (win) puts us closer to getting a home seed and that is what we are hoping for," said Coach Joe Batista.
The first half of the game was, as the NCU coaching staff put it, a game of kick ball. Both teams were sending balls all over the field with no particular target apparent. Cara Worth provided one of the few moments of clarity for North Country, as she got the best scoring chances of the half. Worth went 1-on-1 with a Spaulding defender, stopped quickly, went around her, and fired a hard shot on net that was stopped.
Spaulding, who was at best marginally better than the Falcons in the first, managed to make the most out of their top scoring opportunity, which came off of a corner kick.
Paige Dessureau took the corner and sent it into the box. After taking a few bounces, the ball found its' way to Hayley Arnold who nudged it to the left of keeper Lindsay Geoffrey who was unable to stop the ball as it dribbled into the net.
As the first half drew to a close, it seemed that a fluky goal like Arnolds' could be the difference in the offensively challenged contest.
Then the second half got under way.
Both teams were much better in the second frame, especially the Falcons who started to press harder down the field and win balls that they were losing earlier in the game.
"I think our midi's did a much better job trying to not just hit the ball into the middle," said Batista on his teams improvements in the second half, "We did a much better job looking for feet and pushing the ball outside."
Their strong push was rewarded ten minutes into the second when a tripping call put North Country just outside the 18 with a dead ball kick. A set play got the ball to a waiting Noelle Pinard who rifled a shot over everyone and into the upper left hand corner of the net to tie the game with 30:03 left to play.
Spaulding answered the goal with a near-goal of their own, but Geoffrey jumped on the loose ball that was sitting unattended to her right to prevent any further damage.
Going the other way junior Katie LeBlanc, who with the absence of Crystal Moss saw much more playing time yesterday, made a great drive down the spectator's side of the field and sent a cross that went past Spaulding goalie Megan LaCourse right to Katie Meunier who had to simply tap the ball into the wide open net for the go ahead goal with 16:16 remaining in the game.
North Country shut the door the rest of the way, and was aided greatly by the work of Anna Bingham who was back playing stopper for the injured Baylee Jacobs.
"I thought Anna played a super game for us back there," said her coach.
"It was good, but I felt a little different out there," Bingham said of her new position.
Wednesday was also senior day and the girls and their parents were recognized before the game where the players were given flowers and a blanket as departing gifts.
Now it is on to Stowe for the team where they will try to wrap up the season with a 10-4-0 record.