Mountain Valley’s Espen Lamberg gets a foot on a loose ball ahead of Monmouth Academy’s Shane Kenniston during a 2-2 tie in Monmouth on Tuesday.
MONMOUTH — It takes both the head and the heart to win a soccer game. Mountain Valley and Monmouth Academy each lacked one of those at one point or another in Tuesday’s MVC boys’ soccer clash, and because of that, neither team was able to secure a win.
A converted penalty kick in the final seconds prevented the Mustangs from getting handed their first loss of the season, but the Falcons kept them out of the back of the net in overtime to hold on for a 2-2 tie at Chick Field on Tuesday.
“We were fortunate, very fortunate, but we’re disappointed with a tie. We did not want a tie,” Monmouth coach Joe Fletcher said. “We played to win it in overtime, we carried play in the overtime, had chances, but we didn’t start playing soon enough.”
The Mustangs (7-0-1) were staring down their first defeat of the season when they were awarded a penalty kick on what Fletcher even said was a “questionable call.” Falcons (4-1-3) goalie Jacob Rainey got a little too aggressive in protecting himself from an oncoming Monmouth player making a run into the box and the whistle was blown.
Avery Pomerleau, the Mustangs’ standout senior striker who had until that point been held quiet, calmly converted to tie the game up with 11.9 seconds remaining in regulation.
“If my keeper just holds onto that ball, there’s 11 seconds (left), game’s over. He punts it away and we win,” Falcons coach JT Taylor said. “Unfortunately for him, it’s a discussion we’ve had. Just for him, he wants to protect himself, but he’s a little aggressive on it. It came back to bite him. He learned the hard way, we all learned the hard way.”
Rainey and the Falcons defense spent the first 79-plus minutes of the game frustrating the Mustangs. Monmouth only put four shots on target before the Pomerleau penalty kick, and only a header from Wade Coulombe midway through the first half got past Rainey.
“I think we had a very, very good game plan, we shut down (Pomerleau) for the most part, who’s one of the better players we’ve seen,” Taylor said. “The real goal was to shut down their long balls over the top early, and press them high, and then if it was to come over we wanted to win them in the air before they got to Avery. We usually had two guys on him just to not give him space. And really I don’t think he had that many chances in the game.”
Pomerleau helped set up Coulombe’s goal, which tied the game 1-1. He won possession of the ball in the right corner, then passed to Cameron Armstrong, whose cross into the box found the head of Coulombe.
“I thought ‘okay, well we scored that goal, we got it back. We’ll start playing the way we’re capable of playing,’ and we still, we didn’t do the things that we practice and we preach,” Fletcher said.
Espen Lamberg got the Falcons on the board just over two minutes prior, getting open on a long kick by Moritz Wehrheim and blasting an open shot past Monmouth goalie Bradley Neal.
The Falcons took the lead again 14 minutes into the second half, in somewhat similar fashion. Cam Gallant sent a long ball up to Dalton Noyes, who took advantage of a Monmouth defender’s mistake and looped a shot over Neal.
“The second goal that we had was nothing but a kid hustling getting onto far post,” Taylor said. “It was a pretty good ball (by Cam), but the defender misplayed it and (Dalton) was there to put it in.
“What I preached to them over the last couple days was we know that this team is strong, they’re quick, they’re skilled. Any extra effort is going to make a difference, any 50-50 ball we can win to slow things down, any time we can win a ball in the corner and try to get a cross. When it comes to effort and intensity, that’s one of those things that you can’t measure.”
“I’ll give them credit, they played hard and they played skilled, but we shot ourselves in the foot so many times,” Fletcher said.
The Mustangs came closest to breaking the tie in the two five-minute overtime periods, but nothing close enough to count. Pomerleau missed high and wide on an early chance, and the Falcons did just well enough on a dangerous ball off a late corner kick in the first extra period to make it to a second.
“I think that if there’s a silver lining, we don’t give up,” Fletcher said. “We’ve won two games in overtime, and came back in this one. So we don’t quit, but we didn’t show up to play the first two-thirds of the game.”
“For us to kind of keep our composure and stay in this game and get away with a tie, as much as we wanted to win, it’s a moral victory. I hate that term, but it’s okay,” Taylor said. I hope it gives us motivation, too, to know that when we play our best and we don’t have mental breakdowns we can beat anybody. We’re still a little disappointed, but we know that we played with a great team today and we showed up and competed.”
Monmouth Academy’s Avery Pomerleau leaps over the ball while fighting for possession with Mountain Valley’s Dalton Noyes during a 2-2 tie in Monmouth on Tuesday.Monmouth Academy’s Thomas Neal looks to get a shot off while teammate Nate Camarie lays on the ground and Mountain Valley’s Jacob Rainey (99) and Moritz Wehrheim await the shot during a 2-2 tie in Monmouth on Tuesday.Mountain Valley goalie Jacob Rainey makes a leaping grab while teammate Garrett Garbarini and Monmouth Academy’s Avery Pomerleau look on during a 2-2 tie in Monmouth on Tuesday.
Mountain Valley’s Espen Lamberg out-leaps Monmouth Academy’s Cody Michaud for a header during a 2-2 tie in Monmouth on Tuesday.