NEWPORT–The third time was the charm for the North Country field hockey team on Friday.
After two goals were disallowed for various reasons, Mara Spates' tally with 4:21 left to play in the first was allowed and the Falcons rolled to the 2-0 win over Spaulding.
"They were amazing and the whole team played a great game," coach Chantelle Bouchard exclaimed enthusiastically about her girls' effort.
As play got underway, neither team had the advantage.
The two squads battle it out in the middle of the field until the Falcons started to gain the upper had in the latter half of the opening thirty.
With 10:45 left to play, Mariah Roberts slipped one past the Tide's Brittnee Bell, but the lower official's whistle blew just prior to the goal, and he signaled for a corner.
OK, no problem.
The Falcons went into their corner formation and lo and behold, Adrianna Fournier took a pass from Roberts and blasted one past Bell.
Right now I will try to explain the ruling on the field as it was explained to me by the officials during half-time.
The first drive after a corner must not exceed the height of eighteen inches.
If it does and said drive goes in the net, the goal will be disallowed.
Good, moving on.
If the Falcons were frustrated, they did an admiral job of trying to hide it.
So with no choice but to keep battling, North Country regrouped and went right back on the attack.
This time when Spates flicked the ball into the cage, the goal was allowed and a collective cheer rose from both sides of the field.
Not done yet, defensive guru Brittany Verge went about setting up the next North Country goal.
Usually back on defense, Verge instead was in the thick of things in the Tide’s end of the field.
She let loose a bomb which caught Roberts' stick and deflected into the net.
Finally, with 1:09 left in the first, Roberts had her goal and North Country had a 2-0 lead.
"Brittany drove it in, I had it on my stick, and then it hit a girls foot while I was swinging to shoot, and that is when it went in," Roberts said, describing how the play went down.
Said Bouchard of her offense, "They brought it this game. We wanted the win, so they came out to play."
In the second half it was all about the "D" for the Falcons.
Spaulding came out gunning in the second, but North Country stood their ground.
Time and again the Tide would get close, but the Falcon defenders were there to clear the ball out of the circle.
If Spaulding got off a shot on goal, Danielle Gabucci made the save, keeping a zero on the visitor’s side of the score board.
Less than five minutes were on the clock when North Country faced their biggest challenge.
Three straight corners tested the will and skill of the Falcons, but the birds passed the exam with flying colors and held on for the win.
Gabucci ended the game three saves as did Bell.
Harwood, always a tough team to contend with, is up next for the 2-4 Falcons.
They will head down to central Vermont this afternoon in search of their third win of the season, starting play at 4:00.
A quick scheduling note:
The make-up game for for North Country at Rice will take place this Wednesday, the 26th of September.