DIXFIELD — There was no extra incentive needed when rivals Mountain Valley and Dirigo squared off Tuesday afternoon in an MVC girls’ soccer game.

The Falcons controlled the action and seemingly shot at will, led by Julia Perry, who scored two goals, while the defense was key in a 3-0 triumph over the Cougars at Harlow Park.

Senior Emily Laubauskas scored the Falcons’ other goal, heading in a corner kick by Abby Mazza with 12:22 remaining in the second half. Mazza finished with two assists.

“We had planned on keeping the ball in the middle. We carried the ball well,” Laubauskas said. “When a Dirigo player would step up, we’d pass the ball by her.”

The teams entered the game going in opposite directions. Mountain Valley (6-5) had climbed to eighth in Class B Heal points. Dirigo (1-9-1) has experienced a tougher year.

The Falcons’ pressure eventually paid off when Perry followed her shot and booted the ball across the crease and inside the left post. Perry had dribbled by the right post, and Dirigo goalie Kate Morse and defender Gabby White batted the ball out. However, Perry stayed with it and scored with 16:35 remaining in the first half.

“We actually started out flat because it was hot during warmups,” Perry, who also scored on a header with 34 seconds left in the game, said. “But this was against Dirigo.”

The Cougars played solid defense with White, Rebecca Daily, Elizabeth Rahab and right back MacKenzie Ladd. The foursome stepped up to clear away numerous balls.

“We switched things up today. We moved MacKenzie Ladd (out of goalie) and moved Felicity Boulanger up to midfield in order to get more speed,” Dirigo coach Josh Shaw said. “We tried getting the ball outside on the wings and then kick it in to the middle.”

The strategy was derailed when Boulanger suffered a sprained ankle.

Mountain Valley seized the momentum early with midfielders Mazza, Grace Briggs and Laubauskas consistently securing loose balls and feeding the offense. This led to multiple shots by Taylor Smart, Hailey McNally and Perry that tested Morse (15 saves).

“The Dirigo defense had a fast girl. So our (objective) was to get the ball by her,” Mazza said.

Mountain Valley received support as fullbacks Brooke Carver, Kylee Pelletier and freshman Saydie Garbarini cleared the zone.

“We didn’t need to change the game plan,” Mountain Valley coach Lynn Gould said.

Gould praised her team’s ball movement and strong passing.

Dirigo’s best opportunity came when Emily Noyes advanced the ball ahead to senior striker Brittney Greig, who deked the defense and broke in alone on Falcons goalie Lauren Sterling (five saves). Greig shot high and Sterling reached up and knocked the ball away.

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