Boys’ Soccer: Monmouth beats St. Dom’s for first time

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That label could pay homage to the colors of opponents Mt. Abram and St. Dom’s and the physical style of play required to run cleat-for-cleat with them.

Or perhaps it’s a tribute to the grotesquely sprained right ankle of Mason Clement — the same foot he used to bang home a lunging shot in the 11th minute Wednesday. It held up for a 1-0 Monmouth victory, the first win over traditional power St. Dom’s in school history.

“I did it (Monday) during the Mt. Abram game,” Clement said of the injury. “I didn’t think I was going to be able to play much, but I fought through it.”

Monmouth (7-2) already was missing three starters and lost another to injury during the game.

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The Mustangs also played with heavy hearts, wearing black wristbands after a grandparent of sophomore striker Hunter Richardson passed away earlier in the day.

“We talked about making sure we can look in the mirror and say ‘I played as well as I can,’ and that was probably our best game,” Monmouth coach Joe Fletcher said. “I thought we played well against Mt. Abram.”

That game went 1-0 the other way. By winning on the rebound, the Mustangs leapfrogged the Roadrunners and moved back to No. 4 in the Class C West Heal Point standings.

Clement’s winner was a game of follow-the-bouncing-ball.

Monmouth spent the better part of a minute chasing possession in the St. Dom’s defensive end, fighting off the Saints’ attempts to clean up.

Once the ball caromed back within Clement’s reach, he didn’t waste the opportunity, firing to the upper left corner before falling facefirst to the turf.

“It was me and Josh Reny down there. I hit it over a guy and it just bounced around,” Clement said. “Then it lined up for me, and I shot it.”

The goal ended a shutout streak of more than 200 minutes for St. Dom’s (4-2-2). Ultimately, it also snapped a six-game unbeaten streak.

“I thought we minimized Richardson well. We were watching for No. 7 (Clement), but he had a great shot, great finish,” St. Dom’s coach Marty Bressler said. “It’s about intensity and going to the ball early. We talked about that. We didn’t do it. They did.”

Led by Reny and Richardson, who fought tirelessly all over the field throughout the emotional win, Monmouth warded off a flurry of late first-half runs by Austin Roy, Isaac Lapointe and S.J. Park.

That was a hint of the pressure to come. St. Dom’s turned up the heat in pursuit of the equalizer in the final 15 minutes of the game.

Monmouth successfully packed it in and forced most of the shots from long range. St. Dom’s best chance was a direct kick by Park. Richardson and Avery Pomerleau blocked back-to-back bids to stave off the threat.

“Hunter was exhausted,” Fletcher said. “He wanted to go back and play sweeper. He’s a good leader.”

Goalies Kasey Smith of Monmouth and Ben Sawyer of St. Dom’s each made five saves. St. Dom’s enjoyed a 14-10 edge in shots.

“We had our chances, but we shot to where the keeper’s strength was. We didn’t really pick it up until about 15 minutes left. You can’t do that against Monmouth. You’ll lose,” Bressler said. “They outplayed us. They outhustled us. I think they had less shots than we did, but better quality.”

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