NEWPORTâ€“When a team is squaring off against a heated rival, and yes MMU has become a rival as of late in the world of North Country girls soccer, the words you do not want to hear are;
"Coach I'm sick and can't play."
While those are not the exact words spoken to the coaching tandem of Joe Batista and Peter Alexander, that is the situation they faced as starting goaltender Lindsay Geoffrey was unable to go on Thursday afternoon against the Cougars.
Instead they turned to sophomore Jenna Moss, who despite allowing one goal, turned in a brilliant performance as North Country tied the season series at a game a piece with their 2-1 win over Mount Mansfield.
"I was kind of scared, but I know the girls too well, and I knew that we were going to win this game from the beginning," said an excited Moss after the game.
"We were sick of losing to this team," said Coach Peter Alexander with a chuckle.
Mount Mansfield came out strong to start the game, and three minutes in to the contest they took an early 1-0 lead.
Two of three captains hooked up on the goal as Kyra Raftery's corner kick was converted by Courtney Charland.
That would be the only ball to get past Moss the rest of the way.
Whether the Falcons were rallying around the young netminder or they had just about had enough of losing it the Cougars, they would control play for most of the remainder of the game and stage a comeback that would send a statement to MMU.
North Country tied the game up with 6:30 left to play as Katie Meunier checked back into the game, and checked in on the scoreboard with a shot over the top of the MMU keeper, putting the score at 1-1 going into the half.
Throughout the second half the Falcons would out chance the Cougars with several corner, direct, and indirect kicks, but could not get anything by Mallory Fisher, who checked into the game at the start of the 2nd frame. She replaced Michaela Poley who had surrendered the first Falcon goal.
Meunier couldn't explain why the balls were not falling in, saying, "We had been practicing it a lot, but that part of the game did not seem to work for us tonight."
Meunier, who along with forwards Cara Worth and Avery Parsons-Grayson, played an extremely determined brand of soccer in the final thirty minutes of the contest, and their hard work would pay off with time running out in regulation.
Parsons-Grayson would use her speed to get a ball over to Meunier who put home the game winning goal with 3:04 left to play in the second half.
"We were coming into the game thinking about how we had lost to them last game, tied them in a scrimmage, and lost them a couple of times in past years, and we came in here knowing we could do it, and it ended up working out for us," said Meunier after the game.
When asked to describe how she was able to put in two past the MMU goaltending duo, she simply said she was in the right place at the right time.
Wednesday will see the girls back in action when they travel to Harwood for a 4:30 start.