Western Albemarle girls lacrosse just couldn’t put Monticello away Tuesday night — not until the very end of a 16-15 win over the Mustangs that puts the Warriors in second place in an already intense Jefferson District race.
First the Mustangs rallied to cut a sizeable first half lead to 9-7 at the break, then they knotted things up at 10-10 with 14:33 to play. Western responded with an impressive five-goal run to take a 15-10 lead with 10:29 left, but even that wasn’t enough as Monticello turned things around on the draw and scored four of the final five goals, drawing within one with 3:27 to play.
“They just kept coming back and I’m convinced if we’d had more minutes on the clock it would’ve turned out in our favor,” said Monticello coach Langley Sloan. “To see the resiliency when we’ve got a bunch of young girls out here and to see that leadership trickle down from our upperclassmen, that is awesome.”
From there, the Western defense had to hold up while the offense tried to melt the clock. The Warriors did enough to seal the critical win and celebrate. Western holding an 11-4 advantage on the draw in the second half played a big role in allowing the Warriors to hang on.
“I think the draw wins the game, and I think that showed in the score,” said Western coach Dana Boyle. “I’m really proud of them, I think we make it harder than it needs to be which is always a challenge when you’re coaching a bunch of competitive people and Monticello is great, they have two kids who are exceptional.”
Western’s offensive balance gave them a serious boost. During that critical five-goal run, five different players scored, with Marleena Flynn, Anna Kreienbaum, Reid Ferguson, Mady Starsia and Kira Repich scoring.
“In terms of our attack, we have a lot of depth on our bench,” Boyle said. “We don’t have to rely on one or two players. That’s a testament to their stick work and their skills.”
Repich finished with a team-high four goals while Flynn, Sarsia and Kreienbaum all three notched hat tricks. Flynn also gave the Warriors an emotional spark, firing up teammates after a key first half goal that helped get Western back on track after a lull.
“She’s team cheerleader, team morale, team mom — she does it all,” Boyle said. “She also sparks a lot of great goals. I think people look to her for the momentum and the team morale.”
Monticello hung around in part because they just kept fighting, but they also got a brilliant four goal, four assist performance from Caleigh Smith. Smith took advantage of Western’s focus on Paige McGlothlin, who still managed a hat trick.
“So many teams heavily focus on Paige but that leaves our whole attack open. We’ve got Caleigh, we’ve got Megan Walin, Caleigh’s sister Kendall, we’ve got a couple of new girls in Maddie Lee and April Carter. It really opens it up, when people face guard Paige, I take that as an opportunity for someone else to step up.”
Josie Mallory also got going in a big way for the Mustangs with four goals and two assists while Walin notched four goals for the Mustangs.
With all three of the county’s top teams having played each other in the first half of the Jefferson District’s round robin, Albemarle posted a 2-0 mark against Western and Monticello while Western went 1-1 and the Mustangs went 0-2. The three games were decided by a total of five goals, with Albemarle beating Western 13-12 and Monticello falling to the Patriots 14-11.
Monticello will looks to bounce back Saturday on the road against Salem at 11 a.m. on the road while Western travels to Charlottesville Tuesday for a 7:15 p.m. clash.