Late Push: Albemarle boys soccer explodes to beat Monticello

Photo by Bart Isley


Roshan George kept everyone on Albemarle’s boys soccer team calm against Monticello with the game deadlocked in a tie, calls not going the way the Patriots wanted, some minor injuries accumulating and time winding down.


Players, the head coach, assistant coaches — George kept everyone in Albemarle’s contingent focused, kept everyone in it. And in turn, George opened the door for Daniel Starr to do his thing.


Starr notched a hat trick over the game’s final 13 minutes to break open the tie and push the Patriots to a 4-1 win over the Mustangs.


“We just had to let things we can’t control go and I just did my best to make sure everyone stayed on,” George said.


That steadfast leadership was critical in what was increasingly becoming a frustrating situation for the Patriots.


“He really just does everything for us, he really makes our team tick,” said Albemarle coach Zach Laird. “Whether it’s on the practice field or out here, he’s just an unbelievable leader, we’re fortunate to have him.”


George was the calming force, but Starr sealed the win, first with a strike from the left side with 12:11 to play that gave Albemarle a 2-1 lead. Then twice more, including finishing off a brilliant run down the right side by Mohamed Abakar with an awkward but effective, ricochet type finish for one of the final two.


“We know we’re going to face adversity and when that comes we’ve got to rise to the occasion,” Laird said. “Daniel had kind of a tough game against North Stafford (two games ago) and was clearly frustrated but I think that’s the mark of a player of his caliber is that he can fight through that.”


It was an aggressive, needed finish by the Patriots who struggled to finish in the first half and much of the second despite numerous good chances against a Monticello defense and keeper in Kemper Goodman who just refused to go easily against the defending Class 5 state champions. Instead, the Mustangs took the fight to Albemarle, with Max Acgtblu scoring on a counter with 15 minutes left in the first half to tie the game at 1-1.


“It’s a young squad, you have sophomores, freshmen and juniors,” said Monticello coach David Rivera. “To hold our own against a team like that? The state champs? I’m very proud of my team.”


It helped that Goodman made several sliding and punchout type saves to hold Albemarle to one goal — an early score by Brandon Mahon that seemed to be an early indicator of a much easier path for the Patriots — for much of the contest.


“He played great, he’s been practicing during the offseason and I think he stepped up today,” Rivera said. “I couldn’t be happier.”


Instead, Albemarle kept attacking and kept challenging themselves, with a couple of players during stoppages asking the team rhetorically if they wanted a tie on their record. In the end, there was no tie, but instead another solid win for the Patriots who move to 4-0 on the year.


“Monticello always plays us tough .. but we know we have some talent on our team so we’ve got to play our game, play the simple passes and grind it out,” George said.