NEWPORT–The North Country field hockey Falcons played a very defensive game against Stowe on Saturday, but came up on the losing end of the 1-0 contest.
"The past three games have been defensive ones for us," said coach Chantelle Bouchard. "Stowe always has a good record, so we knew we had to stay with that style of play today."
In the first half, Stowe (5-3), although not on the top of their game as of late due to illness, showed why they usually field a strong club, controlling play and spending roughly eighty-five percent of the time in the North Country end.
"Well it was pretty ugly," said Stowe coach Janet Godin, "It has been hard to get any continuity, but on a whole they played pretty well."
While Stowe had the upper hand throughout the bulk of the opening thirty, the Falcon defenders did not allow one shot through to their goalie Danielle Gabucci, something that did not go unnoticed by the netminder.
"They were amazing," said Gabucci. "I had a trio of three girls, Stephanie Tarryk, Mara Spates and Jessica Buckles, that were playing together within a system and it seemed to be working for them today. They came to battle"
Try as they might, Stowe was turned back time and again until the horn sounded signifying the end of the half.
In the second things began to change for the Falcons.
They were able to get the ball upfield and generate some chances.
"They realized they only had thirty minutes left to play, so they needed to pull something out of the bag," said coach Bouchard.
Six minutes into the frame, freshman Phoenix Alix had a great run at the net, but Stowe stopped her before she could get her shot off.
She would play well for the rest of the game.
"Where did she come from?" said Bouchard with a smile. "No, in all seriousness, she played absolutely great for us today."
North Country continued to pressure throughout the first ten minutes of the half before Stowe tilted the action back in the other direction.
With overtime seeming more and more like a possibility, Stowe's Ricki Haab was left open on the side of the net and found an opening and scored with 8:41 left to play in regulation.
North Country came right back down the field after the goal, but again were turned away by the Raider defense.
Hoping for some late game magic, the Falcons tried to get things going, however Stowe had other plans.
The refused to let North Country advance too far, successfully pinning them inside their own half as time ran out.
Gabucci registered four saves in the loss as the Falcons record drops to 2-6-1.
On the bright side, North Country's next opponent is St. Johnsbury, a team they defeated 3-0 the first time they met last month.
Look for the Falcons to push extremely hard to pick up win number three on Tuesday when they head to the Academy for a 3:45 showdown.