FARMINGDALE — Something didn’t look quite right at the start of Thursday’s Mountain Valley Conference boys soccer game between Monmouth and Hall-Dale.

Hall-Dale goalkeeper Zack McNaughton was playing striker while Monmouth’s leading scorer, Kyle Fletcher, was in goal for the Mustangs. Fletcher’s presence in goal was part of a pack-it-in strategy against the talented Bulldogs, and it didn’t last long.

McNaughton scored the first two goals, which pulled the Mustangs out of their defensive shell and Fletcher into the field. It made little difference, though, as Hall-Dale went on to a 6-0 win played in steady rain.

Senior Kevin Zembroski scored two goals for the Bulldogs, while junior Zach Plummer and sophomore Steven Longfellow each scored one.

“They’re a very good team,” Monmouth coach Joe Fletcher said. “They could go a long way in the playoffs. They’re well-coached, they’re deep, they’re skilled. They don’t rely on one or two players.”

Hall-Dale (11-1-1) likely will play in next week’s MVC championship game against St. Dominic. Monmouth (6-7-0) will need a win against Dirigo in the season finale Tuesday for any shot at the Western Class C tournament.

“That’s going to be a good game,” Fletcher said. “I think we can play with them. I don’t know if we can beat them.”

Fletcher chose his son Kyle to play goal because he’s one of the team’s top athletes. There was little he could do to prevent McNaughton’s two goals. The first came off of a cross from Brad Shepherd that left him uncovered on the left side, the second off of a rebound following a corner kick.

“I feel honored,” McNaughton said of his chance to play in the field. “I’ve been playing goalie this whole season. We knew we had to come out tough because this team needs a good playoff seed.”

Hall-Dale coach Andy Haskell took McNaughton out of goal last week with his team trailing Wiscasset, and he tied the game which the Bulldogs eventually won.

“He’s one of our best athletes and a tough player,” Haskell said. “I have a lot of confidence playing Zack in the field.”

Sam Shepherd, who usually plays in the field, played in goal.

“We’re lucky to have two good goalies,” Haskell said.

After McNaughton’s second goal, Monmouth replaced Fletcher in goal with Kasey Smith, one of five freshmen who play regularly for the Mustangs. Smith made a couple of strong saves to keep the lead at 2-0 by halftime, but the Bulldogs, who had a 22-5 advantage in shots on goal, had too much firepower.

Smith came way out of his goal early in the second half to stop McNaughton on a breakaway, but Longfellow was there to collect the rebound. Late in the game Plummer hit a tough-angle shot for his first goal of the season. Zembroski followed with two scores in the final four minutes, the first a header and the second a rebound.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

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