Monmouth Academy’s Audrey Fletcher, right, collides with Sacopee Valley High School’s Lindsey Hendricks during a soccer match Thursday in Monmouth. (Andy Malloy/Kennebec Journal)

MONMOUTH — Monmouth Academy’s only loss of the season was in its second game, when the Mustangs fell into a two-goal deficit, battled back but lost in overtime.

On Thursday afternoon, ninth-seeded Sacopee Valley’s Lakyn Hink scored twice in the first half and didn’t need overtime to defeat Class C South’s top seed, 3-1.

The name of the game for the Hawks was pressure. From the opening whistle, Sacopee Valley beat Monmouth to seemingly every loose ball, creating opportunity after opportunity at the net.

“Early on, we got them to sit back a little bit and we peppered their defense and their goalie,” Sacopee Valley head coach Brian Hink said. “That’s when we got things going and girls were working off the ball. And then we got those two quick goals that really kind of sailed us to halftime.”

Just seven minutes into the game, a deflected ball in the penalty box found Hink for an easy goal to put the underdog Hawks up a score. The goal was the culmination extensive offensive possession, something Sacopee Valley owned the majority of the game.

Eleven minutes later, Sacopee Valley had multiple chances to go ahead 2-0 when two shots hit the post and another went over the crossbar. It wouldn’t deter the Hawks, though, as just five minutes later Hink found the back of the net again, this time off a low cross from Brenna Humphrey.

“It felt really good,” Lakyn Hink said. “We were doing really well with our passing and we were going to the ball, which helped a lot, and we were being very aggressive.”

Monmouth Academy only had two shots in the first half. One of those was a free kick from Audrey Fletcher which was saved by Hawks goalkeeper Kylie Day, one of her seven saves on the day.

For Monmouth head coach Gary Trafton, Sacopee Valley’s skill was evident even before Thursday’s match.

“Playoffs are a whole different breed than the regular season,” Trafton said. “They played tough against Madison. They battled and we knew they would be tough today.”

In the second half, the Mustangs knew that they had to possess more  if they wanted a chance to come back.

Five minutes into the second half, Monmouth forward Abbie Crawford had the team’s best chance at a goal to that point when she stole the ball from a Sacopee Valley defender and broke away, but shot the ball just wide of the far post.

The Hawks kept the pressure on the Mustangs, even with a two-goal lead, something that was planned leading up to the game.

“I kept telling the girls to keep the pressure and keep trying to force them to sit back and wait for us to come at them,” Hink said. “They had more offensive opportunities than I wanted them to get but my girls stepped up today and they did everything we worked on all week.”

With 18 minutes remaining, Monmouth’s Alicen Burnham drove down the right side of the field and crossed to teammate Megan Ham in front and to the left ide of the net. Ham passed a high ball to Crawford who ripped it into the back of the net to pull within one.

“They just beat us to the ball in the first half,” Trafton said. “They were hungry and aggressive, and when you don’t get to the ball you can’t make any passes. You can’t move on in the playoffs without getting to the ball. Second half we played a lot better and had more opportunities.”

Even with the one-goal lead, Sacopee Valley continued to attack on offense instead of falling back on defense. The team’s mindset never wavered.

Allie Black scored off a pass from Lindsey Hendricks with four minutes remaining to put the bow on their upset win.

“We’re an offensive team, but we have a strong defense to back it up, which is cool,” Lakyn Hill said. “We’ve got to get up, we can’t fall back. We have to push.”

Hill’s gameplan of overbearing pressure on the Mustang defense came up aces.

“It’s high school sports. It’s all about execution and pressure,” Hill said. “I have been doing this a long time, and (believed) we could just get some pressure on them because they have a lot of sophomores and juniors and not senior-heavy like us. It felt like if we could pressure them and a get a goal, they aren’t used to playing from behind.”

Monmouth Academy’s Abbie Crawford reacts Sacopee Valley High School’s third goal during a soccer match Thursday in Monmouth. (Andy Malloy/Kennebec Journal)

Monmouth Academy’s Libby Clement, right, is pushed by Sacopee Valley High School’s Gabbi Black during a soccer match Thursday in Monmouth. (Andy Malloy/Kennebec Journal)


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