During nearly two hours of weather delays in Friday’s Class 4 state quarterfinals, Monticello’s girls lacrosse team didn’t spend much time talking strategy or even checking their phones. Instead, the Mustangs kind of threw an impromptu dance party.
“We’d talk about the game for 15 minutes and then we’d try and blast music and have everyone jumping around just so our muscles wouldn’t get cold and keep everyone together as a team,” said Monticello senior Paige McGlothlin. “It was good to have everyone together singing and jumping around and having fun.”
Even as the Mustangs re-took the field for the final time on the night around 8:45, nearly three hours after the opening draw, they were singing in unison. That unconventional approach worked as the Mustangs managed to avoid any kind of sustained downturn in a 19-11 win over the Titans that pushes Monticello into the state final four for the second straight season.
The Mustangs move on to the state semifinals where they’ll face Salem Tuesday at 5:30 at home.
McGlothlin, Josie Mallory and Caleigh Smith led that effort with strikingly similar stat lines with each Mustang scoring five goals while snagging seven draw controls. Mallory did the bulk of her damage on the draw in the first half with six of her seven controls coming before the break as the Mustangs built a lead while Smith came up with several late controls — three of the game’s final four — to help seal the win. Smith was a wizard with the stick in the air as she took most of the draws for Monticello and managed to snag the ball herself repeatedly.
“Those draw controls were huge,” McGlothlin said. “Having those possessions and knowing we already had a lead was just so good for our mentality and our momentum. Caleigh’s stick skills are so incredible and she was able to get it to herself so many times and that was a big part.”
The entire offense moved the ball well too, the bulk of those goals came in the flow of the offense. Mallory had three assists as part of a career high for points on the night — tying her previous eight point mark while McGlothlin had three helpers, Smith had two assists and April Carter had one assist. Meghan Walin also notched a hat trick while Lexie Stadler had a goal.
It helped too that except for a three-goal stretch in the middle of the first half that put Hidden Valley up 5-3, Monticello’s defense managed to prevent Hidden Valley from going on any significant runs. The Mustangs took control with a 6-0 run that put them up 9-5, with Mallory scoring or assisting on the last five goals of the run.
“Our defense had some incredible plays, Caleigh on the draw was phenomenal and we were just able to capitalize pretty early on and it carried over after the lightning delays,” McGlothlin said.
With the win, Monticello gets a chance to try and advance past the state semifinals after falling to Riverside in that round a year ago, and they have home field advantage and momentum in their favor.
“This means a lot, we know that we can go even farther now, we push each other in practice all the time and we’re really motivated,” Mallory said.