Shifting into gear: Albemarle girls lacrosse accelerates past Monticello in second half

Photo by Bart Isley

Sometimes, it just takes a half for your offense to get going.


A potent Albemarle attack that Monticello held to four goals in the first stanza of Friday’s crosstown clash certainly found its rhythm after the break against the Mustangs.


The Patriots opened the second half on an 8-1 run and never looked back, wrestling the lead away for good on a tally from Kelsey Myers with 22:29 to go en route to a 14-11 victory in Brittany McElheny’s second game as head coach.


Morgan Rose’s four goals led Albemarle while Myers and Jen Wendelken added three each. Anna Murray had two goals and five assists for the Patriots.


“Everyone on our team is so capable, anyone can go one-on-one and score,” Myers said.


Albemarle start the run by scoring the first three goals of the half within the first minute. Murray opened the scoring, then assisted Rose twice in a row to knot the game. AHS won the first four faceoffs of the half before Monticello got


“At halftime we talked about gritting it out, we weren’t winning any 50-50 balls, we weren’t causing turnovers,” McElheny said. “We needed to get groundballs and we decided that’s what was going to change in the half.


Monticello managed to tie it one more time on a goal by Meghan Walin at the 22:56 mark, but from there it was essentially all Albemarle. Walin had two goals for the Mustangs, who were led by Josie Mallory’s four. Caleigh Smith and Paige McGlothlin also had two goals before the latter left in the second half with an apparent injury.


The teams traded blows early, with four ties in the first 15 minutes. Myers had a pair of goals for Albemarle in that stretch, including one with 9:50 remaining to give AHS a 4-3 edge.


The Mustangs’ defense clamped down after that, holding the Patriots scoreless for the remainder of the half while rattling off the final three goals before the break. The last came from Paige McGlothlin with five seconds on the clock for a 7-4 lead.


Albemarle got a stellar performance in the cage from Caroline Sheppard, who registered 12 saves, including a big one with about five minutes left on a Mallory free shot, keeping the Mustangs at a safe distance.


McElheny, a former Monticello player and the head field hockey coach at Albemarle, stepped in for former head coach Lauren Thraves on Monday. She’s two-for-two against local rivals so far after beating Western Albemarle Tuesday.


“We played Western on Tuesday, here tonight, (Monticello coach Langley) Sloan and I used to play against each other on opposite sidelines, and now here we are coaching, so it was really fun tonight.” McElheney said.


Albemarle takes on Salem on the road Monday night while Monticello will travel to take on Western in another key clash Tuesday.