TURNER — Mt. Blue goalie Xander Gurney was grateful to his defenders and also gave a shout out to his other friends  — the crossbar and the post.

Leavitt came out in the fierce way and Gurney was right in the thick of it when the Hornets began pelting him with shot after shot. But Gurney stood his ground and got lucky when several shots ricocheted off the crossbar and post, allowing for the Cougars to slip away with a 2-0 victory in a swift-moving KVAC boys soccer game Saturday.

“They were coming in hard,” Gurney said. “Some big saves helped the team out. The post and bar saved me quite a few times.

“I think Leavitt really stepped up from the first half through to the second half. They really came together as a team and they contested us. We came out victorious.”

Of course, Gurney was also motivated by something else.

“I really wanted a shutout. It feels very good,” he added.

The first half featured a Mt. Blue (3-2) team that came right at the Hornets (2-2-1). These teams were equal in every way, but the Cougars were charged up from the get-go and their tenacity paid off.

“I think that we played really good in the first half, and then I think Leavitt woke up a little bit and came out strong in the second half,” Mt. Blue coach Joel Smith said. “I think we dodged some bullets. I think Xander kept us in. 

“I think Eli (Yeaton) made a couple of saves. I think there were a couple of defenders — I can’t remember off the top of my head — Xander made the initial save  —and then they were working back in behind him.

“And, of course, our friend the post helped us out. We started hard, we started quick and we got the first goal and we were able to kind of settle down a little bit.”

Finn Towle slipped in the Cougars’ first goal at 35:13 on Jack Murray’s corner kick, giving Mt. Blue a 1-0 lead that held up well into the second half.

With the Hornets buzzing around the Mt. Blue net, the Cougars made their move at 23:13 when Murray scored on Jackson Joyce feed.

For the rest of the game, the Cougars faced an unrelenting attack. Gurney (12 saves), with a fine defensive performance from the rest of his team behind him, allowed Mt. Blue to cling to the 2-0 lead.

“I think we came out little soft in the first half, but the second half we came out flying,” Leavitt soccer coach Zac Conlogue said. “I mean, we hit four posts in the second half. I don’t know how two of those didn’t go in, but we definitely worked hard in the second half. I was proud of what we did in the second half.

“It was a fun game all around. I think it was well-played both ways, a lot of chances.”

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