LISBON FALLS — If Saturday’s MVC girls' high school soccer clash between Lisbon and Monmouth is an indication of the way the Western Maine Class C playoffs will be contested this year, everyone may want to invest in some anxiety medication.
The Greyhounds, the top team in the Western C Heal Points, rallied twice from one-goal deficits to top No. 2 Monmouth 3-2 in a game that was intense from start to finish, with hard slide-tackles, precision shots and plenty of drama.
Entering Saturday's contest, Lisbon (11-0-1) had trailed in a game just once, 1-0 at the half against Oak Hill before rallying for a 3-1 victory.
“Today we were down two times by a goal, so it was great to see us come back,” said Lisbon coach Jake Gentle, whose team will host Winthrop on Tuesday. “It was nice to just see them play and go after it today.”
Down 2-1 in the second half, Lisbon midfielder Shantal MacWhinnie pushed a long throw-in from Gabby Ouellette past Monmouth (10-2) goalkeeper Adriane Gonzales with 16:06 remaining in regulation.
“That is the first goal I have ever gotten, and was just in the right place at the right time,” said MacWhinnie of her tying marker.
With the wind at their backs in the second half, the Greyhounds kept coming, outshooting the Mustangs 13-4 and taking a 3-2 lead on a Chelsea Huston goal with 6:31 left.
Monmouth had a golden opportunity to tie things moments later, but a shot went wide of the target, and Lisbon’s defense of Ouellette, Kailyn Hill and Chantal Bisson, who drew the tough task of containing Monmouth standout Kylie Kemp, did the job to preserve the win.
“It was back and forth both ways, and everyone was hot and intense, but as I told the girls, it comes down to capitalizing on mistakes,” said Monmouth coach Gary Trafton.
“This is a huge, huge win, giving us a real good chance of playing in the MVC championship game,” said MacWhinnie. “This was good practice for the playoffs.”
The Mustangs, with the wind at their backs in the first half, carried the play for the first 40 minutes. A Lisbon mistake led to a 1-0 Monmouth lead.
The Greyhounds sent a pass back to their own goaltender, Courtney Martel, who mistakenly scooped the ball up, giving the Mustangs an indirect kick just 12 yards in front of Lisbon’s net. Caroline Bonenfent touched the ball to Kylie Kemp, who chipped a shot over the Lisbon wall of defenders and into the top corner of the cage.
It took the Greyhounds just over a minute to answer, with standout Kayla Angelico’s free kick from 25 yards beating Gonzales to tie the game.
Monmouth tried to find the dangerous Kemp, but Lisbon defender Chantal Bisson more than met the challenge in a solid one-on-one matchup.
“I just tried to contain here,” said Bisson, who has nursed an injured ankle during the past week.
The Mustangs jumped back on top just 39 seconds into the second half as Danielle Bumann scored.
Lisbon began using the wind to its advantage. Monmouth remained trapped inside its end of the field for nearly 30 minutes, with Gonzales making six stops, including a save on Paige Galligan from the doorstep.
“They got their first shot on net and it went in. We had to step it up,” said Bisson.
Ouellette’s flip throws caused havoc near the Monmouth goal, with MacWhinnie finding a loose ball and sending it home for a 2-2 tie, and Bisson’s long pass and nice footwork by Chelsea Huston gave Lisbon the lead.
“We seemed to get a little ahead of ourselves, and even through we played as hard as we could, it just wasn’t enough today,” said Bumann, whose squad dropped its first game on Thursday to Spruce Mountain and hosts Hall-Dale on Monday. “If we played these games in the beginning of the season, the pressure wouldn’t be as intense as it is right now.
“This was very close to a playoff atmosphere today. We have learned Lisbon’s strengths and weaknesses, and we would love to play them again.”
“It took us a while to get going, but once they loosened up, they started to play better,” said Gentle of his Greyhounds. “The wind stayed steady for us. But, it made it tougher to adjust to flip-throws and the ball in the wind. We tied it and kept the pressure on until Chelsea knocked the ball in at the end.”
Lisbon finished with a 16-10 shots advantage, with Martel turning aside two shots in the win. Gonzales had eight saves for Monmouth, with the Greyhounds holding a slight 2-1 edge in corner kicks.
“We now need Lisbon to defeat St. Dom’s and for us to win out to see them again in the MVC championship game, something we would love have happen,” said Trafton.