Albemarle field hockey blanks Monticello

It took a couple of minutes for Albemarle’s attack to get rolling against Monticello but once the Patriots hit pay dirt, they kept pounding and built a big lead. That paired with a defensive effort that allowed the Mustangs just two opportunities at the other end, both of those coming at the end of the first and second half paved the way for a 4-0 win on the road for the visitors.


“We presented a very strong front, were dominant offensively but also, really defensively too to where we didn’t let them have the middle of the field,” said Patriots coach Brittany McElheny. “We were ahead of the 50 and we’ve been working on that. We did a great job passing. Monticello’s a good team but we did a good job of keeping them in front of us.”


The Patriots came out swinging and needed just 10 minutes of pressure before the levees broke. After a pair of short corners — the first of 14 on the night for them — were snuffed out by the Monticello defense, Albemarle got on the board with Anna Murray burying the first of her two goals on the night with 20:59 left in the first.


“Before we started coach was saying ‘We’re coming out strong, we’re coming out strong, we’re coming out strong,’” Murray said. “Getting a goal early makes a statement. We were in control of the game from then on.”


Murray struck again on another short corner, cleaning up on a scrum in front of the cage with to make it 2-0 just under four minutes later. Kristen Hughlett set up with a clean pass right in front of the cage with just over six minutes to play and Lexi Kohler buried it to make it 3-0. That would hold going into the break.


“The phrase of the night from Coach was ‘light ‘em up’” Kohler said. “So we were really focused on going in with that intensity, keeping the ball on our stick and dribbling as fast as we could and keeping the intensity up while going as fast as we could.”


Defensively, Albemarle was able to keep an eye on Monticello standout Josie Mallory. The Mustangs senior played center mid trying to facilitate both sides of the attack.


“Josie does such a great job of being all over the field and wherever the ball is and finds a way to creep in there,” McElheny said. “Our girls did a good job of passing around her instead of trying to pass through her or dodging her. It’s really about keeping your head up if you want to get around her.”


Monticello got its best scoring opportunity in the final minute of the first and was able to get a shot on goal. While the second half consisted of plenty of Albemarle short corners, the Mustangs rose to the occasion with goalkeeper Arianna Nixon commanding the defense and keeping the Patriots off the board again until late in the game. Nixon finished with 11 saved on the night.


“Arianna faced a number of corners and Albemarle was very aggressive, putting a lot of players on her pads,” said Monticello coach Gwendolyn Apgar. “Four goals is misleading when you look at the number of shots she faced, the corners she faced. I think that shows the progress she’s made as a keeper and I gave her a big shout out after the game.”


With 3:37 to play, Albamarle’s Catherine Zimmerman wrapped up the scoring with a goal from 10 yards out.


The Mustangs will host Louisa next Tuesday while Albemarle gets right back into action with a home game with Orange County on Wednesday.