MADISON — It wasn’t perfect, but for a team intent on wrapping up the top seed in the region this week, it was the type of outing the Monmouth girls soccer team can build upon.

Audrey Fletcher scored twice a minute apart midway through the opening half and the Mustangs remained unbeaten and in the No. 1 spot in Class C South with a 3-0 blanking of rival Madison in a Mountain Valley Conference match Wednesday afternoon. Anna Lewis added an insurance goal on a day in which Monmouth (12-0-0) enjoyed a 34-4 advantage in shot attempts and plenty of play through the middle of the park.

“It’s good we’re getting the chances. I wasn’t worried the goals weren’t going to come,” Fletcher said.

Madison (8-5-0) lost its third straight game after an 8-2-0 start, despite having just 11 players on the roster.

Even as things didn’t go their way, the Mustangs remained poised.

Passes in the attacking third were routinely incisive and purposeful, and they often found either Fletcher or Alicen Burnham on the receiving end in dangerous areas.

If it weren’t for some unfortunate luck or stellar play from Madison goalkeeper Susannah Curtis (17 saves), the game could have been a laugher in short order.

Burnham, a junior, hit three posts and twice whistled bids just inches wide after one-on-one situations with Curtis inside the 6-yard box.

“We’re some pretty big rivals, so we knew it was going to be a good game,” Burnham said. “The opportunities that we had, the shots that we took, we gave ourselves more than even in some other games. I think that this really helped us because it showed that we could come through against a hard team, a team that really wanted it.

“I know I can play better — I’m always looking to get better. Yeah, it’s hard when you don’t end up with a couple of goals on the scoreboard. But, all in all, the team worked really hard today.”

What Monmouth classified as “bad luck” at one end was a masterful performance at the other. The Mustang defense, led by senior center back Libby Clement, ushered every Bulldog counter-attack to harmless areas wide and well north of the goal.

“Our defense throughout my four years, I think we’ve had the best defense in the conference every year,” Fletcher said. “Especially Libby Clement, she gets no recognition when she deserves it.”

In the 23rd minute Fletcher, a 100-goal scorer for her career, opened the day after taking a quick through ball from Alexa Allen and finishing inside the near post for a 1-0 lead. Almost exactly 60 seconds after getting the first, Fletcher added a second, this time streaking down the left side before cutting to goal and beating Curtis.

Curtis did her best to keep it at 2-0 in the 26th minute with a diving save on Burnham, but Lewis added the third Mustang goal seven minutes later.

“Five minutes in, we knew we were possessing the game,” Fletcher said. “We didn’t get mad at ourselves for not scoring early on. Over the year, we’ve gotten good at that. Last year, if we didn’t score in the first five minutes that would kind of carry over for the rest of the game.”

“We haven’t lost our composure during the games,” Monmouth coach Gary Trafton said. “We started out strong against Buckfield and should have been up 2-0 in the first two minutes, and then they got their wheels going. We just kept grinding and playing hard and didn’t lose our composure.

“We don’t get frazzled.”


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