MONMOUTH — On Tuesday night, Monmouth spoiled Mountain Valley’s senior night with a dominating 8-2 win in Rumford.
With his team trailing 2-1 at halftime of their senior night game on Thursday, Monmouth coach Gary Trafton told his Mustangs to put themselves in Mountain Valley’s shoes for a moment.
“I told the girls at halftime, ‘We’re not going to be like Mountain Valley. On their senior night, we kind of pounded them. That’s not going to happen to us tonight,'” he said.
Monmouth took the message to heart. Senior Haley Fletcher pulled the Mustangs even with Oak Hill 1:51 into the second half. Her sister, Audrey, a freshman, put them in front with 3:09 left, and Monmouth pulled out a 3-2 win.
With the victory, the Mustangs (13-1) clinched home field advantage in the Class C South playoffs. Oak Hill (9-3-2) will have to wait until next week to find out where it will be seeded in the Class B South tournament.
“I’m real pleased with how the girls responded being down 2-0. They didn’t give up,” Trafton said. “They could have dropped their heads. Haley and all of those girls, they pushed hard tonight.”
“In a game like this, where both teams are well-matched, it’s a disappointing way to lose,” Oak Hill coach Jeremy Young said. “But any time the Oak Hill girls play this well, you can’t be upset about it.”
Haley Fletcher knotted the contest with a beautiful long shot from the left wing, sending it over a leaping Anna Dodge (14 saves) into the upper right corner of the Raiders’ net.
“The defender wasn’t very close to me so I thought I might as well take the shot,” she said. “Usually I don’t take that many long shots, but once in a while… I’m so proud of our team. We didn’t panic. We got our passing going in the last 15 minutes of the first half and the second half we just started winning the ball more and going to the ball harder.”
“That got us going. That was a heck of a shot,” Trafton said.
Haley nearly beat Audrey to scoring the game-winner in the 75th minute when she headed a cross from her younger sister but got a little too far underneath it to get anything on it.
Audrey had a hunch not long after that she would be the one to score the winning goal. She turned on a cross and put enough behind her shot to have it deflect off a reaching Dodge’s right hand and inside the right post.
“It was a cross from Tia (Day) and it was really good. I just trusted it and hit it,” Audrey Fletcher said. “I had a feeling before that. I can’t explain it.”
The Raiders had the Mustangs feeling pretty blue through the first 15 minutes of the game. At 3:52, Sadie Waterman beat Monmouth’s defense to Kierra Rolston’s flip throw in front of the net and poked it inside the left post past Monmouth goalie Katie Harris for a 1-0 lead.
Harris (nine saves) briefly kept the deficit at one goal with a diving stop to deny Eliza Whisenant at the doorstep on the Raiders’ first corner of the game.
But Whisenant got her revenge at 14:35 when she pounced on another defensive mistake by the Mustangs, this one a pass in to the middle in the box, and beat Harris to make it 2-0.
“I changed the alignment (with Abby Allen and Emily Grandahl switching positions),” Trafton said, “and I was very confident with what we had starting that game out. But it didn’t work out very well, so we went back to our original players at their original positions. (Oak Hill) is a very good team, that’s for sure.”
Day cut the deficit in half at 20:09 after taking a pass from Grandahl on the right wing and, with her left foot, beating Dodge (14 saves) inside the right post.
The Mustangs nearly tied it in the final minute of the first half when a Libby Clement shot deflected off the crossbar.
The Raiders had a similarly frustrating chance to pull even late in the second half when Hannah Nadeau overshot on an open net from about 20 yards out.
Monmouth outshot Oak Hill, 28-15.