by Arlene Allin

WOODSVILLE - Playoff positioning was at stake and Belmont bettered theirs with a 3-2 win on Tuesday night. The Woodsville girls twice took the lead, but could not hold it for more then a few minutes either time.

The loss was the seventh in a row for the Engineers and with two games left, they are holding the eighth and final playoff slot in Class M. Woodsville had beaten Belmont by four goals in a shutout when the Red Raiders were missing some starters, and before the Engineers hit their skid.

quot;The difference today wasn't skills, it was desire. We did hustle in the first half and they outhustled us in the second half,quot; remarked coach Frank Leafe. quot;We're in the seven and eight slots and we both knew a win would move us away from the bracket of those two top teams, Hopkinton and Bow. They just wanted it more.quot;

The territorial battle raged on the skirts of the midfield circle for the first 40 minutes and both the Engineers and Red Raiders fired nine shots each. Both keepers made four stops each and both gave up a goal.

Woodsville struck first. Stacey Smith drilled the ball from about 15 yards out on the right and it brushed the post on the way inside. Jess Harrington got her the ball at 24:02. Just over two minutes later, Belmont pulled even again when Amy Duggan sent a direct kick over the wall and off the goalies hands into the net.

Woodsville found itself penned in for nearly 15 minutes after break and brought in a relief goalie, Morgan Hann, in hopes of finding a spark. Belmont had no choice, but to change keepers when the lack of a mouthguard was brought to the officials attention. Melissa Vaillant left for several minutes to get properly equipped and Tiffany Picard took over in goal.

The Engineers greeted her with a goal. Lindsey Thornton pushed the ball past the Red Raiders replacement and she got help on the goal from both Stacey Smith and Manya Shapiro. The lead did not hold past six and a half minutes.

Laura Ennis evened the score again at two each on a cross from Tasha Isabelle. Exactly a minute later, Kaitlyn Messier stuck her foot out on a cross net pass from Beth Roberts to tap in the game winner. One more Raider blow was kept out by sweeper Sara Solinsky on the goal line.

quot;We're not out of it, but every time we lose we make it more difficult for ourselves,quot; said Leafe. quot;We need to hustle. That last goal was all hustle on that girl's part.quot;

Belmont, now at 6-8-1, bettered its playoff position and kept Woodsville, at 4-8- 2, from moving up. Two more chances remain for the Engineers to better their record as they travel to Hillsborough on Thursday and host Oxbow on Friday.

Copyright 1998

The Caledonian-Record

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