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BURRILLVILLE -- Back on Thursday, Sept. 20, Burrillville High needed overtime to dispatch Division II rival Cumberland, 1-0, at its Tucker Field home.
According to senior tri-captain Laura Hauser, the Broncos didnât want to go to an extra session again.
âOur game plan was to stop their drives from going through because they did a pretty good job of that the first time,â Hauser said of the squadsâ second meeting on Monday afternoon. âTheir goalie (senior Elizabeth Alberg) also is pretty fast, so we needed to work her, catch her off-balance.â
Burrillville had more on the line this time around, due in part to the fact it hadnât lost yet this season.
While it played rather sporadically in the initial half, it pretty much dominated the last, and â thanks to sophomore Kasey Desrosiersâ tally off senior Brittney Bebeauâs feed with just 3:58 left in regulation â the Broncos celebrated a 2-1 triumph over the gritty Clippers.
In the process, it remained unbeaten at 8-0-1. Cumberland fell to 5-3-1.
âI thought we were a little sluggish in the first half,â noted Burrillville mentor Susan Burgess. âI donât know why. I donât know if it was adrenaline or what, but I was waiting for them to settle down and play their game.
âI thought maybe the nerves were getting to them; I mean, they knew they were undefeated, and they were playing a really good team,â she added. âI told them at halftime they needed to calm down and do the things they needed to do to score. Once they did that, we dominated.â
As for the game-winning tally, Desrosiers described it this way: âBritt reverse-sticked it to me, and I just banged it in. I remember it being on my stick, and I thought, âThis is it! Weâve got to win this game if we want to stay undefeated.â Next thing I knew, it was in.â
Stated Bebeau: âI was in front of the goalie, and I just flicked it forward toward the net. Thatâs when Alex poked it in âŠ My only thought was âNo overtime! Thank you!â
Actually, with 3:19 remaining, it appeared Cumberland senior Franky Hawkins had knotted the contest at 2-2 off of a penalty corner, but the officials disallowed it for an infraction.
âIt hit a foot of one of our players, and thatâs illegal,â sighed Clippersâ head coach Stephanie Bello. âI was just, like, âShoot!â We knew this would be a tough game, and the kids arenât happy about losing.
âI thought we played alright, but we lacked some hustle and our passing wasnât very strong,â she continued. âBoth teams are really good, and I thought it was pretty even throughout, but they scored late and won.
âWeâve been having some problems scoring, so I chose switch to four forwards instead of three, so our (defensive) backs were one (girl) short. I did it to create more offense, but a lot of pressure falls on our midfielders. They need to recover more quickly to get back and help the backs.
âIn the second half, with all that running, they were exhausted; thatâs why Burrillville was able to dominate.â
Junior Mikayla Fernandez gave the Broncos an early 1-0 cushion after she ripped an unassisted shot past senior keeper Elizabeth Alberg only 10:15 into the tilt.
Cumberland didnât need long to knot it, as Hawkins beat senior goalie/tri-captain Alexandra LeClair a mere 3:54 later.
With 6:42 left before intermission, officials awarded Burrillville a penalty shot after a Clipper defender was whistled for using her foot to award a sure goal. Hauser took it and lofted a shot off the crossbar, and it landed near Alberg but never rolled over the goal line, so the 1-1 deadlock stood.
âMikayla had been playing upfront in the first half, but I moved her to center back in the second half, and I thought she played well,â Burgess offered later. âMikaylaâs got an amazing drive, one of the best of anyone on our team; she can drill it the length of the field.
âI also switched (senior) Ali Boisvert up to the front because of her speed, and I think that helped. But I have to say it was (senior) Alisha Marcotteâs best game defensively. She was all over the place.â
On Desrosiersâ goal, she avoided a couple of defendersâ sticks and tucked the ball inside the left post. After Hawkinsâ tally was disallowed, Burrillville ran out the clock.
Alberg finished with seven saves for the Clippers, while LeClair manufactured five.
âThis feels great to be unbeaten,â LeClair grinned. âWe come to practice every day ready to work hard, and we do. Still, even thought we havenât lost, weâre not letting it go to our heads. We have to keep working. We know we have to if we want to keep winning.â