By JOEL LEHMAN
For the Essex Reporter
BFA coach Mary Pipes is quick to admit her girls don’t like the heat. They managed to suffer long enough Monday to hold off the Hornets’ late-game comeback push.
Andi Esenler scored five goals and Molly Dillon added an insurance tally late after Essex crawled back within one with five minutes on the clock as the Comets held on for the 11-9 victory.
The win was the reversal of an 11-9 loss to the Hornets on a cold day early in the season. Monday was hot, and BFA-St. Albans (7-3) pushed its winning streak to three by slowing the offense and working it inside, a departure from the fast-break offense the Comets like to run.
Esenler opened the scoring 8 ½ minutes in and scored again 37 seconds later, streaking in on net off a pass from freshman Mary Cushing. Esenler made it 5-2 with 3:08 left in the first half and then scored another to make it 10-7, ending a 4-1 run by the Hornets, who made it a one-goal game after being down by as much as five early in the second half.
Cushing added a goal to go with her assist, Hannah Earl scored twice, and Erin Shuttle had a pair of tallies to close out the Comet offense.
Essex was led offensively by senior Jackie Quackenbush, who scored five times. She cut the score to 8-4 with 14:28 left, and after a score by Shuttle, the Hornets scored three times in less than three minutes, with goals by Madison Corkum, Olivia Malle and Corkum again. Esenler slowed the tide with a drive to the net to make it 10-7 with 7:06 on the clock, but a yellow card on the Comets put them shorthanded for two minutes, and Essex struck twice on the man-advantage by Quackenbush and Cassidy Knight.
“That foul, that yellow card, did not help us,” Pipes said.
The Comets keyed on Quackenbush and co-captain Anna Olsen Monday, Pipes said.
“We paid close attention to them. She’s a really big threat on crease roll. They like to pull us over and isolate her and we had to pay attention to that.”
Sophomore Lindsay Hallowell stopped six shots for the Hornets. Maria Magnan recorded 12 saves for the Comets.