In the first half Monday at Chick Field, Emily Grandahl and Haley Fletcher lived up to that reputation and landed the Mustangs a two-goal lead. With time ticking and daylight fading, Madeline Wood and Ashley Emery answered for the Bulldogs.

After two fruitless five-minute overtimes, the result was a 2-2 MVC deadlock that didn’t make much impact on the Class C South Heal Point rankings.

Madison (10-1-3) moved into short-lived possession of first place in the region, although unbeaten Sacopee Valley would take it back with a win at Gray-New Gloucester on Tuesday. Monmouth (10-2-2) remained a fraction of a point behind St. Dom’s in fourth.

“It’s always a rough game, always an evenly matched game when we play them,” Wood said. “They always give us their hardest and we always give them our hardest. It’s always really, really close and pretty much comes down to overtime.”

The rivals went beyond regulation for the second time in a week. Madison scored in the extra session to win 2-1 at home on Columbus Day.

Monmouth led comfortably in the rematch until Wood made it 2-1 with 10:54 remaining.

Marked by two Mustangs’ defenders, Wood beat them to the ball, stopped on a dime and made her pursuers overrun the play before planting a high, booming boot from 20 yards.

“The first half, I know about 70 percent of the time we got to the ball, because I chart everything,” Monmouth coach Gary Trafton said. “The second half, we didn’t get to the ball. When you don’t get to the ball, they have it, and they create offense. You can’t let that team create offense, because they’re good.”

Marah Hall made a tremendous defensive stand against Fletcher to end a Monmouth possession and set up Madison’s equalizer with 8:15 left.

Madison fought off valiant attempts by Abby Allen and Taylor Spadafora to clear the defensive zone. Emery subsequently delivered from a tough angle in the right corner.

“The first part of the game we tried to spread the field a little bit,” Madison co-coach Erin Wood said. “We went to a different formation. Then we came back to spreading the field, and it absolutely made a huge difference. We got some space to work with. We picked up our intensity and went to those 50-50 balls better and found a little more energy or drive.”

Monmouth goalkeeper Mikayla Cameron made the only save in either of the overtime sessions.

Everything went the Mustangs’ way in the first half. The lone exception was a 25-yard direct kick by Grandahl that rattled the crossbar. Tia Day pounced on the rebound, but her second shot was a trifle high.

Given a second opportunity from the same spot less than two minutes later, Grandahl finessed it inside the frame.

Fletcher made it 2-0 with 2:18 to go in the half. Erin Whalen stopped Monmouth’s initial shot but lost the handle, and Fletcher cashed in on the open net.

“Just put pressure on the goalie, just see if she would make a mistake and just capitalize. That’s how we get our goals,” Fletcher said. “We knew we would need to come out strong, and we did. The second half was just a little more messy.”

Cameron fought off two direct kicks by Wood early in the half. The frequent scoring chances were a sign that the Bulldogs’ hustle would pay eventual dividends.

“We didn’t play bad, but we didn’t play good. It was really good to see our team come out of that hole and show what we need for playoffs,” Madeline Wood said. “We started to pick up the intensity. We started to go balls more. We started to match the physical play that we needed to. We stopped fouling. We picked up our overall game.”

If the current seedings hold, Monmouth and Madison couldn’t see each other again until the regional championship.

“I wish we were a little more consistent through the whole game,” Trafton said. “You’ve got to have a full 80 minutes when you get into the playoffs. The teams that do that, they find a way to win.”

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