NEWPORTâAnna Bingham had a pair of goals and an assist to lead North Country (8-3-1) over Lyndon (1-10-1) 4-0, giving coach Joe Batista his 200th career victory.
"The first thing I want to do is thank Peter Alexander, who has been a JV coach and an assistant coach for me for years, and for the last few seasons he has been a co-coach," said Batista
"He is very knowledgeable and helps out tremendously on the defensive end of things. He and I have worked very well together and I want to give him a lot of credit.
"The other people I want to thank are all of the players who have played for me over the years. It is their hard work and dedication that made this possible.â
Joe, a fixture in the Northeast Kingdom soccer community for decades, got win number 200 in his twenty-sixth year of coaching.
Batista's record stands at 200-66-16, with 141 wins coming with the boys and 59 the girls.
"I really want to thank this team because they are the ones who got me the 200th win," the coach added.
Said coach Alexander, who has worked with Batista for the last fourteen years, "We have the same love of the game and he is Mr. Soccer. He lives it, breathes it and it has been fun working with someone who loves the game so much and listens as we go back and forth."
Alexander did have a tale of one particular moment that stood out.
"One time, and he claims he did it one purpose, we did leave two girls at a McDonalds, but we were able to pick them up before we went too far. He claims he did it on purpose, but I believe he just plain forgot."
As for the game itself, the Falcons came out ready for anything, playing with a ferocious tenacity that couldn't be forgotten.
A good example of the girl's hard play was when Crystal Moss came flying into Viking netminder Emily Doty, knocking both the wind out of Emily and the goalie from the game.
She would eventually return, but left in the second half.
The Falcons were relentless in their play, rarely allowing the Vikings a glimpse of the home side of the field.
Not much was getting past the NCU middi's and Bingham was a monster, dictating play and beating girls to the ball so easily it looked like she was playing a junior varsity squad.
"She controls the midfield, and if you control the midfield you are going to win games," Batista said. "She was on every ball, won every fifty-fifty and I can't say anything more about her than she just played a really solid game for us."
North Country put nine shots on net in the first, but the only one who could score was Bingham.
Anna lofted a ball over Lyndon's netminder and into the cage with 21:01 remaining in the half to give the Falcons the 1-0 lead.
In the second North Country remained on the prowl.
Fourteen minutes into the half, Bingham sent Devinnie Davis on a break and little number eleven made a nice cut in front of a defender and went top shelf for the tally.
"That second goal was huge for us," said Batista. "She (Davis) has scored some big goals for us and it came at a great time."
Eight minutes later, with the Vikings looking fairly ragged at the point, Brooke Breault picked up a Davis rebound and sent the ball just inside the left post for goal number three.
Bingham wrapped up the scoring with 7:10 left to play, jumping on a rebound and sending the ball into the back of the cage with authority.
"I guess it just kind of kicked that it is my last couple of games and that I am never going to be here again so I want to leave my mark," said Bingham.
Knowing that the end is near, the last two games have seen Anna's play ascend to a higher level.
She takes to the pitch each game like she owns it.
While Davis has been the top scorer for the Falcons, Bingham is it's heart and soul.
She is the gasoline that powers North Country's engine, and will be a fearful opponent for whomever draws the Falcons in the opening round of the play-offs.
Before we get to the post season, North Country must wrap up their final two games.
Wednesday they will travel to Barre to face Spaulding then come home for the season finale on Friday against Stowe.
Game times are 4:00