Monmouth’s Jordyn Gowell, left, and Oak Hill’s Sadie Waterman battle for the ball during Tuesday’s game in Monmouth. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
MONMOUTH — Oak Hill got the first shot it wanted, but it took the Raiders all 80 minutes to put away Monmouth in a Mountain Valley Conference girls’ soccer game Tuesday.
Eliza Whisenant scored two goals and assisted on another, and the Raiders survived two goals by Monmouth’s Audrey Fletcher to edge the Mustangs 3-2.
It took the Raiders (2-0) less than a minute to break the scoreless start. Whisenant fed Julia Noel, who in turn passed back to Whisenant for a low shot past Monmouth goalie Katie Laliberte 49 seconds into the game.
The Mustangs (1-1) had their first chance just over a minute later, but Oak Hill goalie Paige Gonya corralled a looping shot from Mya Sirois that came soon after a Monmouth corner kick.
Whisenant notched her assist 3:34 in with a through-ball to Audrey Bauer, who beat her defender before sending a shot past Laliberte.
“We obviously know that Monmouth is a great team, and so I think we just came out really hard,” Whisenant said.
Fletcher admitted her team didn’t match Oak Hill’s intensity at the start.
“We definitely didn’t come out and play hard like we usually do, and that’s one thing we need to make sure, every game we need to come out hard, because you could see what happened,” Fletcher said.
It took a penalty kick off an Oak Hill handball in the box just past the midway point of the first half to get Monmouth on the scoreboard. Fletcher did the honors, striking a shot to the right of Gonya.
“(Head coach Gary) Trafton called on me to take it, and usually I would have gotten nervous, but I kind of felt kind of commonplace,” Fletcher said. “That kind of gave us a little more hope.”
Alicen Burnham had a couple quality chances to net the equalizer before halftime, but Gonya made a point-bank save on one shot and Burnham just missed wide on the other.
The two teams traded possession dominance in the second half, but shots weren’t as easy to come by as in the first half. Whisenant and the Raiders finally struck with 2:59 left to play.
“I definitely just kind of went for it, but I have been working on that left foot for a really long time,” Whisenant said. “And Julia just set it up perfectly. She was right there, we were really spaced, and I had a just wide-open shot, so I kind of just took it.”
“We were waiting for the third goal,” Oak Hill coach Jeremy Young said. “We had plenty of … opportunities. I think part of it is finding a ball that’s going to find the back of the net. You know, I liked our chances, I liked the shots we took. And so had a feeling that one was going to fall — hoping it was going to be a little faster than that.”
Monmouth’s response was fast. Off the ensuing touch, the Mustangs got the ball into the final third, where Burnham fed Fletcher for a goal 18 seconds after Whisenant had made it a 3-1 game.
“After they scored, I just kind of thought, ‘It’s now or never,’ and just kind of pushed it even harder,” Fletcher said.
The Mustangs earned a pair of corner kicks in the final two minutes, but couldn’t muster a tying goal out of either.
Gonya made nine saves in net, while Laliberte stopped 10 shots for Monmouth. Both goalies are freshmen.
Oak Hill’s Julia Noel, left muscles in on Monmouth’s Alexis Trott during Tuesday afternoon’s girls soccer game in Monmouth. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)Monmouth’s Emma Johnson, left, heads the ball as Oak Hill’s Grace Woodard defends during the first half of Tuesday’s soccer match in Monmouth.(Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)Monmouth’s Amaya Bauer, left and Oak Hill’s Julia Noel battle for the ball during Tuesday’s game in Monmouth. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)Monmouth’s Libby Clement, left, and Oak Hill’s Gabbie Chessie vye for a 50/50 ball during Tuesday’s game in Monmouth. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)Oak Hill’s Sadie Waterman, left, and Monmouth’s Abbie Crawford battle for a head ball during Tuesday’s game in Monmouth. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)Monmouth’s Audrey Fletcher, right, boots the ball before Oak Hill’s Julia Noel, left can get in on the play. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)Monmouth’s Audrey Fletcher, left and Oak Hill’s Olivia Cummings contend for a ball during Tuesday afternoon’s girls soccer game in Monmouth.l (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)