NEWPORT–Sometimes all a team needs to turn a losing streak around is to come home. That is what the North Country Field hockey did as they became the last fall sports team to play a game in front of the Falcon faithful when they took on Lyndon Institute on Wednesday, exploding for a season high three goals and a 3-2 win over the Vikings.
"It was amazing," said Coach Chantelle Bouchard, "They played phenomenal, they did such a great job even though we were down two players."
Even with Kelsey O'Donnell and Stephanie Jones out due to illness, North Country was the aggressor for the majority of the game, allowing LI a limited amount of time in the Falcon half of the field. The Vikings were resilient though, and when they had the chance, they made the most of them, like they did with the opening goal of the game.
After the Falcons had been pinning the Vikings in the lower half half of the visitors end for the opening minutes of the game, LI made a quick dash down the field and Tasha Seymour slipped a shot past Danielle Gabucci for the early lead.
The Falcons would remain undeterred, and unlike previous seasons where they might have buckled under an early deficit, they came charging right back, forcing the Vikings into a host of violations that resulted in a multitude of corner base opportunities.
Try as they might, they just could not get the ball past Taylor Ward.
Finally, the team made an adjustment having Ashley Papp take the corner instead of Megan Simpson and it paid off.
Papp got the ball quickly to the top of the circle where it was shot in front of the Viking net. On the ensuing scramble Melina LeMay found the loose ball and deposited it in the back of the LI net to tie the game with 12:48 left to play in the half.
Bouchard knows how key it was for her team to respond quickly the Viking goal.
"It was very important because I think in the past they have been down and have lost momentum. Instead they just kept going and going and it was great."
Still feeling the energy of the home town fans behind them, North Country stayed on the attack and Haley Tetreault took another loose ball chance and made the most of it, 2-1 Falcons.
Sensing her team was losing focus, Viking coach Roxanne Courser called a timeout with seven and change left to play.
Her team responded with a goal a minute after the timeout as Seymour nabbed her second tally of the game.
But the Falcons were not to be denied on this day. Once again the Falcons came marching down the field and after Mariah Roberts' initial attempt was denied, Molly Manning found an opening and put the Falcons on top for good 3-2.
Manning, usually on the post down low, moved to the middle and it resulted in the game winner.
"I think we played really well, " said Manning of her team's effort, " we had good passes, we talked, and we looked for good options to score and we got them."
In the second half it would be a much more balanced game, with each team getting chances, but neither were able to capitalize on them and the score would stay the same after 60 as it was after 30, 3-2 in favor of the Falcons.
Senior Ashley Papp knew that this game was a must win for North Country, saying "The pressure was definitely on because we had not won yet and it was our first home game. Chantelle kept her cool, we were really pumped, and I am very proud of everybody."
The Field Hockey team joins the parade of strong play by Falcon Fall sports teams during spirit week, and they will be back at it today at 4:00 as they take on Montpelier in game two of their three game home stand.