FARMINGDALE — For nearly 27 minutes in the second half Thursday, the Monmouth Academy boys soccer team kept unbeaten Hall-Dale off the scoreboard.

Considering the Bulldogs have outscored their opponents 44-2 this season, that was a feat in itself. The 27-minute span was a moral victory of sorts, since Hall-Dale built a five-goal lead in the first half. The Bulldogs went on to post a 7-1 win to run their record to 6-0-0 with tests looming Saturday against Dirigo and early next month against St. Dominic.

“They come at you in waves,” said Monmouth coach Joe Fletcher, whose team falls to 1-3-2. “They’re deep, they’re skilled and they’re well coached.”

The Bulldogs led 5-0 at the half following two goals by Zack McNaughton and Nat Crocker and another by Spencer Shagoury, who also scored in the second half. Sam Shepherd, who played most of the game in goal, added a score for the Bulldogs while Kyle Fletcher scored for Monmouth.

“We’ve grown up with each other,” McNaughton said. “We have 16 seniors so we know how each other plays. We just really have a good feel for each other.”

The Mustangs came out in a 5-5 defensive formation that backfired as the Bulldogs kept the ball in Monmouth’s end of the field and peppered sophomore goalie Kasey Smith. Shagoury scored just under four minutes into the game on the first of three assists for the game by Crocker.

“It ended up hurting us,” Fletcher said of his defensive formation. “It didn’t work. We haven’t had an opportunity to practice it.”

McNaughton made it 2-0 when he beat Smith in a race to a loose ball and Crocker upped the lead after taking a cross from Colin Lush. Hall-Dale coach Andy Haskell substituted liberally in the first half without much of a drop-off in play.

“I give a lot of credit to our reserves,” Haskell said. “They play hard and they practice hard and they keep our starters sharp.”

The Mustangs played more aggressively in the second half and caught the Bulldogs a little off guard.
“Monmouth gave us a really good second half,” McNaughton said. “We didn’t see it coming.”

Kyle Fletcher made it 5-1 when he beat Shepherd cleanly to the upper right corner of the net after taking a cross from Russell Neal. Smith, who finished with 17 saves, made several good stops in second half, but Shagoury finally beat him with 12 minutes, 50 seconds left to play to make it 6-1.

“In the second half we had to re-gear back up,” Haskell said. “We’ve got a big test coming up on Saturday. I thought it was great Monmouth came out in the second half and played hard so we could give our starters 30 minutes of a good run.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638
[email protected]

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