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NEWPORTâ€“ A strong second half surge by the Winooski Spartans led to 5-0 loss for the UCA Crusader girls on Friday.
Coming into the start of last week, UCA had played only three games this season: by 6:00 Friday evening they had played six, and might have been on their last legs coming into the contest.
The first half was an even affair with both teams getting chances, but first halves have not really been the forte of UCA in 2011, as more times than not they have found themselves down early and having to play from behind.
"Outstanding first half effort. It is not something we are accustomed to," said Coach Sarah Roy, "We usually come on stronger in the second half, so I was very pleased to go into half time with a 0-0 tie."
The Spartan team that had dominated for stretches a week ago against Lake Region was nowhere to be found, and head coach Amy Benson did not have an answer for her teams' sluggish start.
"What can I say, it was very lethargic. There was not a lot of effort in the first half. The second half was a lot better. We started making passes and playing like I know they can play."
Yes indeed, the second half it was a different story. Winooski shook off what ever fatigue they were feeling, and got the scoring rolling five minuets into the half.
Sadie Spears was the first on the board, pouncing on a loose ball in front of Crusader keeper Sydney Whipple and knocking it in.
Six minutes later Spears struck again, this time off of a cross from a fellow Spartan, doubling the lead to 2-0.
"She did very well," said Benson of Spears' play, "She created a lot of opportunities for us."
UCA, having made some adjustments in their play to start the half regrouped and stood tall, frustrating Winooski by getting in front of shots and relying on Whipple to make big saves to keep them in the contest.
Whipple played very well in the game, despite the score, stopping ten shots on the afternoon.
Roy admits that some of the moves she made did not quite pan out the way she was hoping for, saying, "We had talked about risks and maybe changing a couple of strategy points, to be honest I went against my gut and it killed us, so I won't do that again."
With under ten minutes to go Coach Benson's girls started to find seems in an exhausted Crusader squad game, and found the back of the net three more times with goals by Bethany Trainque, Rebecca Spittle, and Brianna Robare, who tallied her second goal in Newport in five days, having scored Winooski's lone goal against Lake Region.
Looking at the rosters of both teams, it will be interesting to see what the season series will look like in 2012, as some of the players who had a strong game on Friday for UCA are mainly freshman and eighth graders, where as Winooski's best efforts came from a sophomore and multiple upper class-men.
Starting the season Coach Roy said this would be a rebuilding year, and if the first half effort on Friday is any indication of how the rebuilding process is going, the Spartans might want to come out with a better game plan when they face UCA in 2012.
Next up is a trip to Richford on Monday for the Crusaders for a 2:00 match.