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NEWPORT-Brenna McMannon's penalty kick goal with 9:15 left to play was the difference as the Colchester Lakers defeated the North Country Falcons 2-1 on Tuesday afternoon.
"Those are points we need to have as we are trying to make the play-offs, which isn't a lock, and we are trying to avoid the 16th seed," NCU coach Peter Alexander said about the significance of the loss.
The Falcons were once again without some key players, as Michaela Columbia is out for the season, Devinnie Davis was sick, and Dasha Plotnikov was inactive.
With both teams standing at 4-8 heading into the match, you would expect play to be very cut throat early on, but it was just the opposite, as both teams were very tentative as the match got underway.
The first chance of the game went to the Lakers when Kristina Chapman put a shot towards the Falcon goal, but it went wide.
Colchester followed it up with a corner ball that rolled through the North Country 18, but nobody could get a foot on it.
Holly Smith's direct kick with 6:56 left was the Falcons first good look at the Colchester net, but Smith caught the iron, and the ball went out of bounds.
North Country kept up the pressure, earning another two direct kicks, but neither would yield any positive results.
The Lakers had two more cracks at North Country netminder Jenna Moss, but Moss was a rock, and the half ended with zero's on the scoreboard.
The Falcons came out with an aggressive tone to their play in the second, and were quickly rewarded with the game's first tally.
Crystal Moss and Myra Degre went blazing down the field doing a little give-and-go.
As they crossed the 18, Degre hit Moss with her final pass, and Crystal slid the ball past a charging Haley Jestings to put the Falcons ahead.
"I was happy I could work my way in there and score for myself instead of forcing a PK," Moss said with a smile on her face. "Myra made a great pass and I was glad it got through the Colchester player."
Eight minutes later Chelsea Bianchi had an opportunity to push the lead to 2-0, but her attempt was blocked by a Colchester defender.
The Lakers tied the game shortly after the Bianchi chance.
Andrea Trudeau got the ball at the 18 and uncorked a vicious shot that went into the upper left-hand corner, and with 27:59 left to play, the game was tied.
Moss and Degre hooked up again seven minutes after the Trudeau strike, but Jestings made a great save on the play.
From their Colchester really began to press, and Jenna had to be steady with her play.
With time winding down, Jenna collided with Colchester's Brittany Isabelle, and the result was Isabelle lying on the ground and a an ensuing Colchester PK.
McMannon made the PK, Colchester held on to the lead and that is how the game would end, with the Lakers on top 2-1.
"I have been anti-PK forever, but that was a critical play in the game and that part (of the game) was a little disappointing," Alexander said about the penalty kick
Moss finished the game with five saves as North Country drops to 4-9.
Jesting stopped three for the now 5-8 Lakers.
The Falcons will welcome the number four seed in the Metro Division, Essex, to town on Friday for the first game of a boys/girls doubleheader to be played on Veteran's field.
Game time is 5:30.