MILTON — Yellowjacket coach Glen Button has eased striker Ryan Brown back gradually this season as the standout senior comes off a knee injury in the offseason.
Brown, even with a brace on his right knee, looked to be back at full strength last Saturday afternoon, scoring his first three goals of the season within the first 31 minutes of a convincing 7-1 victory over Division II rival Mt. Abraham.
Just over a week after narrowly squeaking past the Eagles in a 2-1 road win, Milton (5-2-1) was the better team in all facets last Saturday, jump-started by two Brown goals in the first eight minutes.
On the Yellowjackets’ first foray into the attacking third of the field, Brown tapped in an easy setup from Carson Bianchi in the fourth minute of play. Just over four minutes later, Brown pounced on open space, ripping a ball under the crossbar from 25 yards to make it 2-0.
“He is moving really well out on the field, and obviously he’s a dangerous forward and he changes our attack quite a bit,” Button said of Brown, who has only been back for a handful of games, and has been foiled on several quality chances in previous matches this season.
“He was due. But he got us going today,” Button added.
With Brown allowed far too much space by the Mt. Abe defense late in the first half, he tallied his third with 8:50 on the clock, turning and firing from outside the 18.
And with just over five minutes left in the first half, he helped set up Milton’s fourth goal, a tally by Brendan Green, who came off the bench to score.
“We’ve had a huge advantage in shots almost every game we’ve played. Today they started to go in the back of the net,” Button said. “I thought possession-wise we were really good today. We shared the ball, knocked it around the entire park, and good things happen when we knock the ball around.”
As impressive as Milton’s attack was last Saturday, its defense was nearly equal, allowing just one goal to Silas Burgess late in the second. Counting that goal late in a lopsided match, the Yellowjacket defense has conceded just three times in the previous six matches, led by Spencer Marquis, Brandon Button, John Larose and Ryan Collette on the back end. Alex Dooley made three saves for the Yellowjackets.
“Our backs can get up in the flow and in the attack. We’re not afraid to play back this year,” Button said. “We can knock it back and our backs can possess just as well as our midfielders.”
Bianchi, Michael Outama and Emilio Desouza added second-half goals. Cam Goodrich and Jake McNeil added assists.
Mt. Abe keeper Toby Bunch made a save in the first half, before freshman Ethan Dewitt came in to stop four shots in the second half.