Hilltoppers Get Just Enough to Go Over North Country 1-0

NEWPORT–The rains that had cleared early Tuesday afternoon came back out and helped to dampen spirits as the North Country field hockey team fell to visiting St. Johnsbury 1-0.The Falcons played well in the match, and Coach Bouchard was pleased to see strong efforts by her girls in back-to-back contests."I think they played a great game. I think they had the momentum of the Stowe game and I think it was still with them."The first half was a very even affair with both sides getting an equal amount of chances.For the Falcons, their best attempt came off a foot infraction call eleven minutes into the half, but they were unable to beat Hilltopper goalie Anne Goolman.The Academy's top look came late in the first off of a corner, but again no one was able to get the ball in the net, so the half ended scoreless.The second thirty minutes witnessed a tilt in the field towards the North Country end. St. Johnsbury was able to hem the Falcons in their own half for extended periods of time, although they still had difficulty getting the ball to the net."I think they (St. Jay) were tired of playing ping pong with the ball and they wanted to do something with it," said Academy Coach Fran Cone of her team's play in the 2nd half, "They were getting frustrated so I said take it out on the ball and they did."All the wear and tear of having to play constant defense finally got to NCU late in the match-up. With five minutes left to play and the rains now steadily falling, St. Johnsbury was awarded a corner. The ball was sent out of the circle, and back in where number twelve Marcy Daley got off a shot.Falcon keeper Danielle Gabucci made the save, but Shannon Jefferson pounced on the rebound and put it home for the game winning goal.Gabucci faced eleven shots in the game, stopping ten.After the game Cone said she was glad her team did not have to stay out to play 7-on-7, but said with a chuckle, "I feel sorry for the J/V."With time still on the clock North Country put forth their best five minutes of the half, highlighted by a last minute drive that nearly saw Megan Simpson squeeze past the Hilltopper D and get in alone on Goolman. Goolman had to make just one save the entire game to preserve the shut-out win for the Academy..Standing out once again for North Country was the play of senior Lindsay Cotnoir."Today she was just amazing, even the other coach said so," said Bouchard."I have definitely tried to be more aggressive'" said Cotnoir, "on the free hits I always try to rush the person taking the hit, as you can tell by my green card."Green card aside, Lindsay has been such a spark for North Country that fans in the stands take notice and comment on her excellent play on the field.Cotnoir will once again get the chance to shine when the team heads to East Montpelier to face U32 on Thursday.