JAY — Monmouth Academy’s defense was as threatening as the thunderstorms that rolled over Spruce Mountain High School on Monday afternoon.
Dark clouds closed in on the field as the volume of thunder increased, forcing the Mountain Valley Conference boys’ soccer game come to a close with 30:39 left in the second half. But the damage was done and the Mustangs walked off with an 8-0 victory.
Monmouth’s passing allowed the Mustangs free reign in front of the Phoenix.
“We work on that a lot,” Monmouth coach Joe Fletcher said. “There are times when we are disciplined and there are times when they might not be.
“Well, we are coming off a loss. We went and played at Mt. Abram on Friday night. We were hungry for a win and … we worked extremely hard on on our passing game.
“Obviously, they (Phoenix) are hurting for numbers and that is going to be an indicator how their season goes. They just don’t have depth.”
Throw in freshman center fielder Hayden Fletcher’s two goals and two assists and the Mustangs dominated the game on offense.
“He is going to be a good, special player. He works hard and he plays a lot,” Fletcher said.
The Phoenix, who are trying to shore up their finesse game this season, demonstrated improved passing, but their lack of depth is a concern for first-year coach Adam Gettle.
Spruce’s roster consists of 13 athletes.
“I think my boys played much better than we have in the past with 13 boys,” Gettle said. “We are definitely learning the switches that we need to do.
“When I am on the field, it is good to see them switch automatically. Our goalie switch there helps. (Andrew) Shaw has a lot more experience than Jacob (Bryant), but Jacob is getting in there and Shaw is doing just as well on the field.
“We need to do just a little better with our shots on goal. But as passing goes, they owned the passing today. “
Fletcher scored his first goal on a Nate Ashton assist 34:50 into the game.
The Mustangs’ goals kept on coming, with junior midfielder Gabe Martin scoring his first of two goals on Fletcher’s assist to put Monmouth out in front with a 2-0 lead.
The next four goals came from sophomore midfielder Cody Michaud, Fletcher, Martin and junior center back Thomas Neal, providing the Mustangs with a 6-0 lead.
With a storm fast approaching, the teams played the first 10 minutes of the game before it was called.
Neal scored his unassisted goal on a breakaway and Ashton kicked in the final goal on a Martin assist, putting Monmouth firmly in control with an 8-0 lead.
For the day, Monmouth peppered the Spruce net with 23 shots to Spruce’s six.