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NEWPORTâ€“Despite a few lapses in play, the North Country boys soccer team gave a tremendous effort in their 2-0 loss to Colchester on Wednesday.
"We came out flat in the first five minutes of the (first) half and (Colchester) was able to knock one in, and then we woke up and finished strong," said NCU coach James McKenny. "That is the reality of the Metro, if you make a couple of mistakes, you are going to pay for it."
The opening twenty minutes of play belonged to Colchester.
The Lakers displayed precision passing, excellent communication and seemed to win every 50-50 ball they contested for.
Their tenacity paid off with a goal less than four minutes into the contest when Laker co-captain Brett Nelson got one past NCU keeper Ryan Paul.
Speaking of Paul, he was fantastic on Wednesday, making hard saves, easy saves and everything in between.
Said Paul, "I had to focus the whole time. It was a well played game by both teams, and if you lose you focus in this kind of game with this many shots you are going to get some squeaking by you."
"Ryan was really aggressive, the most aggressive I have seen him all year," said McKenny. "It is good when he is playing at the top of his game. He keeps us in every game and he did that today and then some."
His two biggest saves of the half came on a blast from a Colchester attacker with 12:00 left in the first, followed by a huge stop on Matt Goudie, who had slipped past the Falcon defenders to go in on the breakaway. For North Country, their chances were few and far between in the opening half.
Nate Marsh had a nice direct kick from near mid-field that got on net, but other than that, the half was controlled mainly by Colchester.
In the second, the Falcons came out and played a stronger brand of soccer, and with that, their chances increased.
Ten minutes after putting their first shot of the second on net, the Falcons had a good look on a corner play, but the Laker netminder was there for the stop.
Going the other way, Colchester scored on a very pretty play.
Chris Zamarripa sent a picture perfect through ball to Nelson, and Brett struck for his second of the contest with 17:10 left to go in the game.
From there the ball went back and forth, but nobody else would find the back of the net.
The loss drops the Falcons to 3-10 and they are currently 14th in the standings.
Coach McKenny stressed to his team how important Friday's game with the Essex Hornets is if the team wants to make sure they do not face CVU in the first round of the post-season.
Ryan Paul made 16 saves for the Falcons in this contest, and he and his teammates will have a light practice today before suiting up for senior day on Friday for a 7:30 match against Essex.