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NEWPORTâ€“After dropping their season opener to Rice by the score of 4-0, the North Country field hockey team had a much better showing against Montpelier, even though they were bested by the Solons 1-0.
"I think they improved on everything," said coach Chantelle Bouchard. "Their spacing was good, their talking was good, and Danielle played a great game."
After the Falcons controlled the ball in the early minutes, the Solons started to find their groove.
Montpelier won the race to the scoreboard when they were able to make the best of a scoring opportunity off of a corner.
Carly Martin's dribbler somehow made it through a maze of players and found the back of the net giving the visitor's the lead.
"I thought we were pretty good out there, especially defensively," said Solon coach Heath Haskell.
The Solons kept up the pressure, so much so that Bouchard was forced to call a time-out to get her team refocused.
Coming out of the break, North Country seemed energized and attacked their opponents with vigor.
Leading the charge all game long for the Falcons was Brittany Fortier.
The sophomore, despite being in only her second game at the varsity level, was a presence to contend with all game long, weaving in and out of traffic and pestering the Solon defenders.
Said Bouchard, "Fortier really stepped up her game. She really wants to win."
Despite getting the ball deep into the enemy zone, North Country could not quite get the support on offense they needed to really make things happen.
"At the varsity level you have to get points if you want to go to the play-offs, so...," mused Bouchard.
Late in the first, Montpelier almost went up 2-0 on a breakaway chance, but were unable to corral the loose ball for a quality shot.
In the second half it was more of the same for North Country.
They would get the initial push on the play, but again the lack of support hurt the offense time and time again.
Fortier hit Adrianna Fournier with a ball late, but left all alone, Fournier was unable to convert on the chance.
The Falcons had another shot late, but again just could not quite seem to find the net, and the Solons held on for the win.
"I think we played well as a team," said Fortier. "We talked a lot this game, their goal was weak, and we definitely could have won it."
It was not as if North Country was out-played, they weren't.
In fact it was a very even game, but Bouchard admitted that the lack of offense was hurting the team, and in fact changes were coming, as soon as practice on Wednesday.
Said the coach after the game, "Practice is going to be very interesting."
Fans will get a chance to see what changes were made between games as St. Johnsbury rolls into town today for the 0-2 Falcons' third straight home game of the season.
Game time is 4:00