MONMOUTH — Monmouth hadn’t trailed or even allowed a goal all season when Avery Lutrzykowski scored for St. Dominic in the 16th minute of Tuesday’s battle of unbeaten Mountain Valley Conference girls soccer teams at Chick Field on Tuesday.

The Mustangs handled the rare, early adversity the way coach Gary Trafton hoped they would handle it — by playing smart, tough soccer.

Haley Fletcher’s penalty kick with 5:30 left in the first half was the difference on the scoreboard as Monmouth edged St. Dominic, 2-1, but it was the defense and goalkeeping of Mikayla Cameron that really made the difference.

The Mustangs (6-0-1) allowed their first goal of the season when Lutrzykowski cleared a leaping Cameron and found the back corner to put the Saints (7-1-1) up 1-0 15:19 into the game.

Taylor Spadafora tied the game by sending a kickout into the upper-left corner with 13:18 left in the first half. Cameron (10 saves) made several big stops after that and the defense limited the Saints’ opportunities in the second half to make Fletcher’s game-winner stand up.

“This is a huge win. To take down a team that is ahead of you in Heal points is huge,” Cameron said. “We know that St. Dom’s themselves are going to be successful, so we gain points that way as well.”

“I told the kids, I wasn’t sure how (they) were going to act after one goal, like, ‘oh we lost it now.’ And they didn’t,” Trafton said. “They just buckled up and made it tighter and worked harder.”

Spadafora, Emily Grandahl and Abby Allen led a Monmouth defense that had to combat the young Saints’ speed, particularly up front with freshmen forwards Lutrzykowski and Alexandra Hammerton.

“Abby did a real nice job (on Lutrzykowski),” Trafton said. “And Taylor had No. 2 (Hammerton) and she’s a lot faster than Taylor. But Taylor played well, hung in there and didn’t give her a lot of good looks.”

Hammerton got at least one good look to try to tie it as the rain intensified with 11:22 left. On a rush from 15 yards out, she tried to beat Cameron inside post, but the senior netminder stayed a step ahead and closed it off.

“When someone comes on an inside post inside the 18, my job is to come out as fast as she’s coming in to try to prevent as many angles as she has so she can’t keep her head up,” Cameron said. “As long as her head is down, she doesn’t know where to place the ball or where the net is, and so I know I have an advantage at that point.”

Ten minutes earlier, Lutrzykowski had designs on splitting the Monmouth defense and appeared to be setting herself up to try the far post, but Cameron rushed out of the net and dove to keep her from even getting a shot off. Moments later, Lutrzykowski did get one off from a much safer distance and more favorable angle to Cameron, who was in position to catch the ball square.

“I did not want her getting a shot off,” Cameron said.

“We had good chances. We just weren’t being smart about it,” St. Dom’s coach Alicia Pelletier said. “We had several wide open and they didn’t realize they were wide open in the 18. That’s the biggest problem when you’re dealing with a freshman. They were making good decisions, but not the perfect decision. Age can make the difference in that.”

Late in the first half, Fletcher got pushed on a battle for the ball as it rolled toward the end line inside the penalty area, setting up her penalty kick. The junior beat St. Dom’s goalie Victoria Sasse (five saves) to the upper left corner to make it 2-1.

Monmouth had several chances to extend its lead. Fletcher had another golden opportunity moments after her goal on a corner kick, but her header hit the face of the crossbar. Grandahl’s rebound header went over the crossbar to keep it a one-goal game. Earlier in the half, Fletcher had a breakaway bid that hit off the outside of the right post.

“We had four golden opportunities, and we just didn’t finish them,” Trafton said.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

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Twitter: @RAWmaterial33