The counter attack came quickly from Western Albemarle.
“After a goal, you’re always worried about the next five minutes and it’s always an emotional game between these two teams,” said Western coach Mia Fields. “That was huge.”
Monticello’s Mattie Morris had just equalized the game a minute before when the Warriors swept downfield and setup Lily Stoke to find the back of the cage. Stoke’s goal held up as Western snagged a 2-1 victory that gave them a shot at hosting in the first round of the Conference 23 tournament.
Western will have to wait and see how a couple of Thursday games shake out before the conference tournament bracket is set.
The game Tuesday was deadlocked at 0-0 at the break, but Western didn’t change much up at the half.
“We just tried to put more shots on goal,” Fields said.
The first of those to get through was Reilly Funk’s tally put Western up 1-0 before the Mustangs evened it and set up Stoke’s game-winner.
Monticello getting a counterpunch in was significant. The Mustangs have struggled over the years to score in clutch situations, and a game-winning goal a few games back against Albemarle from Kathryn Deane and Morris’ goal against the Warriors is an indication that the Mustangs’ offense may be finding its footing in the latter half of this season.
“We had a beautiful first half and I just think Western came out fighting really hard in the second half,” said Monticello coach Katie Martin. “I’m really proud of how we played and we’ve got some fire going into Thursday.”
The Mustangs face Albemarle on the road Thursday. Western has wrapped the regular season up and now is pointed toward the conference tournament that starts next week.