MONMOUTH — Striker Megan Ham looks at her first-half goal as the start of something wonderful for the Monmouth/Winthrop girls soccer team in Wednesday’s showdown of two of the top teams in the Mountain Valley Conference.

Ham’s unassisted goal inspired the Mustangs to keep pushing, and they did, producing a 2-0 victory over the tenacious Mt. Abram Roadrunners. The loss is Mt. Abram’s first of the season.

Ham scored with 4:27 left in the first half, after the Mustangs (7-1) spent the first 35 minutes of the game doing everything humanly possible to get the ball past Mt. Abram goalie Haley Bate, who was under siege for most of the game.

 “So (my goal) was kind of like a breakaway, and so (Bate) was kind of going down and to the left, so I touched it to the right and got (it to) that corner,” Ham said. “(The goal) kind of fired us up a little and kept us going and kept the intensity up.”

Ham added that the Roadrunners (6-1) provided really stiff competition.

“It was good to play a team like them and get us ready,” she said.

Bate made 18 saves in net. Her counterpart, June Foyt, made six for the Mustangs.

“We haven’t played many skilled teams like that this year, so I kind of got a little board (in earlier games), but this game was definitely something that — I know they are good,” Bate said.

Bate was taking a lot of heat in the first half and three times in a row made saves by leaping into the air and batting the ball away.

“I did feel like my saves were a lot better,” she said. “I am never able to (get to shots) above my head, until apparently today.”

“Haley Bate is amazing,” Mt. Abram coach Andrew Delcourt said. “What a feeling it is to have someone special as her in the goal.”

Monmouth/Winthrop is certainly a skilled team, but the Roadrunners turned up the heat in the second half and had several chances to tie the game.

“We didn’t finish at the net,” Delcourt said. “We had a couple of chances — pretty easy ones. We have to get better at that.”

Just as Mt. Abram was heating up on offense, senior center halfback Averie Silva knocked the wind out the Roadrunners’ sails with a goal on an assist by sophomore midfielder Izzy Hamann with 6:37 left in the game.

“The girls really worked hard in the first half,” Monmouth/Winthrop coach Gary Trafton said. “The second half, (the Roadrunners) kind of took it to us a little and they got back into it. We won a lot of 50-50 balls and the defense stepped up really well today — with Zion Armstrong back there and Kerstin Paradis, the sweeper, and Evelyn Guimond and Ella Rice — I mean they did a great job.

“We played a good team and beat them.”


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