The Monticello field hockey team was on the ropes a couple of times, both early in the second quarter and then in overtime against Charlottesville. However, sometimes it’s just about getting to that part of the game where you have an edge. And so with a veteran goalkeeper in Lindsay Gunsallus and an experienced set of shooters, the Mustangs were able to pull out a win on the road after a 1-1 tie was decided after Ari Oliver and Josie Mallory scored in the fourth and fifth attempts in what amounted to a 2-0 shoot out victory.
“We’ve been working so much on trying to dig deep,” said Monticello coach Katie Martin. “This was a clutch win. I could tell we were getting tired and we were working on adjusting to patience instead of just going nuts and I think that paid off in overtime and in the shootout.”
Getting to the shootout was the struggle. While Monticello had its chances in overtime, Charlottesville owned the time of possession and nearly saw Maya Block end things well before in what was nothing short of an entertaining back-and-forth contest.
Monticello picked up its lone goal in regulation early on in the first when Mallory got in front of the cage and roofed a chip shot with 24:53 left in the first.
“We shot it in early and I just happened to be there for the rebound,” Mallory said. “We worked really hard yesterday in practice on finishing hard on our shots, so that was good.”
Charlottesville was able to answer back in kind though, needing just over seven minutes to do so when Althea Laughon-Worrell finished on a wide open breakaway down the field.
“I think we came out a little flat, which is unfortunately, the story of our season right now,” said Charlottesville coach Lindsey Clark. “A lot of it is just getting everyone stepping up to the ball and not playing on their heels. That with quicker passing, that’s how we get that first goal. It’s a nice long hit up Althea and she put it in.”
The rest of the first half was fairly defensive-minded with neither squad getting many scoring opportunitys. The Black Knights got off a solid start in the second with Marina Reilly getting off a solid shot but Gunsallus coming up with the save. Just over 10 minutes later it was Block who had a chance on a short corner but the Mustangs defense were able to snuff things out. Monticello answered with a solid push to close the second half. With just under six minutes remaining in regulation, Oliver came flying down the left side and just missed. And with 1:15 to go, the Mustangs earned a short corner but the Black Knights defense came up with an answer.
Things heated up in overtime when things went to 7-on-7. But after both squads flirted with breakaways, shift changes and fatigue, it was off to the shoot out.
“I was really proud of the girls because I thought they dominated most of the second half and overtime but we just couldn’t find the back of the net,” Clark said. “We’re pretty inexperienced in shootouts and I’m so proud we got to five there. Monticello coached that beautifully with Ari, Josie and then Lindsey in the cage.”
It was there that Gunsallus came up big. She faced four shooters and came out on top after each eight second burst.
“I told myself that this wasn’t all on me because I do have five girls shooting for me,” Gunsallus said. “I’m just coming off a concussion so it was a little rough thinking about that but you just have to come out and play. My goalie coach taught me so much, go in low, slow and you can just tell so much from the shooters footwork and hips. If you’re patient and watch the ball, the player, you can get the ball every time.”
Charlottesville’s Casey Casarex was able to come up with three straight stops to keep things locked up at 0-0 heading to the fourth set of the shootout. But when Oliver finished on her goal and then Gunsallus came up with her fourth stop to set up Mallory. The Monticello junior picked up her attempt by cradling the ball on the heel of her stick in the air, ran straight to the net dribbling it and then buried her shot to wrap up the game.
“I love shootouts, they’re my favorite,” Mallory said. “My sister showed me that this (move) is what I should do every time. The goalie is either going to come out to far, and they can’t touch me, or they’re gonna back up because they’re scared and don’t realize what you’re doing. So you just react to that and finish.”
Monticello (7-7) gets some rest before it plays host to Albemarle on Tuesday while Charlottesville (5-7) is back in action at home against Orange on Thursday.