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NEWPORTâ€“A talent laden Montpelier team paid a visit to North Country Friday night, and defeated the Falcon girls in hard fought overtime soccer contest 2-1.
The Solons controlled play for the majority of the game with a combination of accurate passing and a mid field regroup that the Falcons had a hard time defending.
"They have a very skilled team, we knew that, and we let them cycle around mid field," said Coach Peter Alexander, "They are so quick on the ball. We are used to trying to possess, but they were right on us."
Right off the bat Montpelier came out with no trace of bus legs, and it took them only two minutes and sixteen seconds to find the back of the net.
Annie Jones took a feed from Andie Parento and drove the ball home to get out in front 1-0 on the teams' second shot in the game.
After going back and forth for ten minutes, Avery Parson-Grayson had a chance to tie the game, but a nice save by goalie Jayme Parker kept the lead for the Solons.
The scoring chances would be limited throughout the contest. For every move the Falcons made it seemed as if the visitors from our state capital had two more to answer with.
North Country battled hard to keep the ball away from their keeper, which they did do, but they had little luck getting deep into Solon territory against the mid-field regroup/full team press that Montpelier showcased under the lights of Veteran Field.
Finally, with 1:54 left to play in the first half, the Falcons would break through the green and white's defense.
Sophomore Crystal Moss, whose playing time has expanded as the season has progressed, made a nifty pass to Noelle Pinard who lofted a shot home to tie the game.
"Once again you saw us get down early, but (we) were very pleased to comeback from that. We have to counter punch. It is the only way we are going to compete with teams like that," said Alexander.
Moss was a real X factor for North Country on Friday. She played some very valuable minutes for her team, including in overtime, and could increasing be relied on as a go to player as the season rolls along.
The second half started out similarly to the first with Montpelier playing the role of the aggressor. The Falcons would not get a scoring chance until eleven minutes in.
One thing North Country was able to do was to better in the 2nd half was to control the Solons regroup. Whether it was limiting the Solons throw in options, or just being up and marking their player, they were increasingly able to cut off that back field option.
The biggest moment in the game for the North Country defenders was laid squarely in the lap of goaltender Lindsay Geoffrey. With the clock reading 3:55 and overtime on the horizon, an errant handball inside the 18 yard line set up a potential game winning penalty kick for the Solons.
Montpelier went to their big foot from the back field, Caroline Kessler, to take the shot.
Kessler, whose power had been on display all game, came up to take the PK, and with fans anxiously watching, drilled the ball directly in Geoffrey who made the save.
Just moments later she would make another clutch grab, this one on the left side of the Falcon net.
Her poise under pressure helped to eventually send the game into OT.
In the extra session the Falcons came out with the fresher legs, but the passing game that had at times made them run around in circles finally wore the girls down.
It would be Jones striking again, this time taking a ball near the 18 on the right side of the North Country net and floating one past Geoffrey for the game winner with 20 ticks left on the clock in the first OT half.
On the loss Alexander had a positive view of the events of the evening saying, "In overtime, we'll take our chances. Playing Montpelier to a tie ball game and get a crack in overtime, we'll take (that) anytime. We're happy with the effort."
It is back out on the road for the Falcons as Peoples Academy will be the site where the team looks to once again get over .500 on Tuesday.