PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Drury High School girls soccer team was down after it gave up six goals in its season opener.
The Devils were down after settling for a tie earlier this week against Mount Everett, a team it beat twice by a combined score of 10-0 in a three-win season a year ago.
And Drury could have gotten down after falling behind 2-0 late in the first half on Thursday against Taconic under the lights at Berkshire Community College.
Instead, the Blue Devils picked themselves up and played even with their hosts over the last 44 minutes in an eventual 3-1 loss to their hosts.
"I'll be honest with you," Drury coach Molly Meczywor said. "It was a tough tie against Mount Everett the other day, and I think this team really could have come and said, 'Ahh, we're just going to go through the motions.' And they didn't.
"I think that demonstrates a lot of character, which I'm happy with."
Angela Pannesco and Lisa Laughnane scored for Taconic (3-2-1), which already has nearly as many wins as it had all last year, when it finished 4-16.
The home team got on the board in the second minute when Gillian Campbell sent a cross from the right wing into the penalty area, and the ball deflected off a Drury defender for an own goal to make it 1-0.
Taconic kept the pressure on from there, generating six corner kicks in the first 12 minutes and five shots on goal in a 10-minute stretch that ended when Drury goalkeeper Allison Meehan denied Lauren Curry from the top of the box at about the 26-minute mark.
The tide started to turn when Morgan Lamarre nearly cashed in the rebound of a Breanna Simard shot to tie it. But Taconic keeper Brooke Mangiardi was there to make one of her two saves.
That save started a run of four Drury corner kicks in a span of just more than two minutes. Taconic's Lauren Mangiardi cleared a ball off the goal line with 7 minutes, 20 seconds left in the half to keep it 1-0.
Taconic doubled its lead moments later when Pannesco sent a rocket from 25 yards out on the right wing into the back of the Drury net.
But the Devils responded off a corner in the closing minute of the half. Alyssa Marceau scored her team's fifth goal of the season to make it 2-1 at intermission.
After the break, Drury withstood more pressure from Taconic. Perhaps the toughest of Meehan's nine saves came at in the 73rd minute when Lauren Mangiardi had a wide open look from 10 yards out after a corner.
The Blue Devils then had two chances to get the equalizer about 30 seconds apart. First Simard had a free kick from 30 yards out on the right wing for the Devils' third shot on goal of the match. Then Drury earned a free kick from just on the edge of the box with 3:53 on the clock. Cori Ghidotti's effort deflected off the wall toward the left wing, and Alison Tassone just missed geting a foot on the ball in the box.
Taconic put the game out of reach two minutes later when Laughnane ran on a through ball up the middle of the field and converted an open look from just inside the 18.
Despite the winless start, Drury continues to show the kind of improvement that keeps its coach's spirits up.
"We've told the team from the get-go that we need to work on little steps, improving little aspects of the game," Meczywor said. "We've really been focusing on our passing, finding the open space, the killer pass down the line. We're getting there."