MONMOUTH — The Monmouth Academy boys soccer team’s game against Hall-Dale on Monday afternoon will be recorded as a Class C/D crossover.

But the competition on the pitch was a true Mountain Valley Conference battle, with the Mustangs pulling out a 3-2 victory.

“That’s a true classic between Monmouth and Hall-Dale,” Mustangs head coach Joe Fletcher said. “Every time we play them, it’s a dog fight. (Hall-Dale) is a good team, they’re well coached, and we were fortunate to come out on top today.”

Brandon Smith led the way for Monmouth (6-1-1), scoring two goals, including the game-deciding score with 14:22 left in the second half. Sammy Calder also scored for the Mustangs.

“We’ve been rivals with (Hall-Dale) forever, it was my (last season) ever playing them, so I knew we had to come out on top,” Smith said.

Monmouth sits No. 1 in its new conference, Class D South, after spending years in the C South ranks with Hall-Dale. Though the Mustangs qualify for the Class D playoffs, their schedule isn’t much different from their Class C days.


“(The schedule) is certainly going to prepare us for the playoffs,” Fletcher said. “We’re not going to see teams like that in D. We know Richmond is good, we know Buckfield is going to be a challenge. But we feel like if we play our game, we’re going to be tough to beat.”

Jaxon Olsen and Keegan Cary each scored for the Bulldogs (5-2-0).

Monmouth Academy boys soccer player Brandon Smith shoots and scores during the first half of a game against Hall-Dale on Monday in Monmouth. Annie Chadwick photo

As it has been in years past, the teams engaged in a physical contest. Neither team gained ground early in the match. Monmouth finally took a 1-0 lead with four minutes remaining in the first half, when Smith found some space by the right side of the net for his first goal.

“The first (goal), I was fortunate to beat (the defender) to it,” Smith said. “I heard him coming up on me, I cut back and (shot) low on the keeper, because he’s a big kid.”

Hall-Dale answered right at the start of the second half. Olsen dribbled down the sideline and buried a high, arcing shot that just went over the head of Monmouth goalkeeper Ezekiel Delorme to tie the game 1-1.

Monmouth scored minutes later, when Calder found space in front of the net and knocked home a shot into the net. Hall-Dale answered to pull even at 2-2 when Cary snuck a shot into the goal while colliding with Delorme.


“(Monmouth) always brings the same intensity, same pressure (in every game),” Hall-Dale head coach Jesse Rowe said. “We’re always used to that. We bring out the best in each other.”

Smith put the game away a minute after Cary’s goal, finding room in front of Hall-Dale goalkeeper Ben Nathan and burying his shot into the right of the net for the final 3-2 score.

“I saw the keeper coming out,” Smith said. “I’m left-footed, but I have a decent right (foot). I had to kick it with my right and, fortunately, I got it behind him and into the goal.”

Despite the loss, it was a bounce-back effort for the Bulldogs, who dropped a 7-0 loss to C South powerhouse Mt. Abram on Friday.

“We’re trying to go with a ‘we not me’ mentality,” Rowe said. “Getting back to what made us successful (in the past). In my tenure here as coach, it’s always been about playing for the badge and always about playing for Hall-Dale. I think the boys have embraced that and have been playing for each other. In tough times like this, with back-to-back losses, this will show whether or not we have what it takes to get out of that.”

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