FARMINGDALE — Jillian Holden is only five games into her high school soccer career, but the Madison freshman already knows how an early goal can spark a team, especially on the road.

So when Holden scored after just 1:08 to give the Bulldogs an early edge over Hall-Dale, she had a sense that it might mean more than just getting a quick jump on the competition.

“I was thrilled with the goal. It gave us a lot of intensity. I think when we score or do anything good within the first part of a game we really lift each other up,” Holden said.

Madeline Wood and Aishah Malloy added goals as Madison improved to 5-0-0 with a 3-1 win over Hall-Dale on Thursday.

Nine of the 18 players on Madison’s roster are freshmen, and most are key contributors augmenting established talent such as Wood, Tori McLaughlin and Kayla Best (assist). For most of Thursday’s game, they played with more poise and controlled the pace against their more veteran hosts.

“We haven’t really had a problem scoring goals, so no matter who we play I’m expecting that,” Madison coach Mike Herrick said. “We did a couple of things defensively knowing that they have players all over the field that can play the ball. They play a style of soccer that we want to play, as well.”

“Mike’s team beat us to the ball all day long,” Hall-Dale coach Guy Cousins said. “If you don’t get to the ball first, you can’t do much. They’re fast and they’re physical and they put pressure on you all the time. So if you don’t have your wits about yourself, then you’re going to be defending all day.”

Holden put Hall-Dale back on its heels by serving Madison’s first shot just to the right of a diving Olivia Maynard (10 saves).

“To get a good start against a good team, to start 1-0 like that, it’s just a really big exhale and at that point you can just play instead of pressing too hard,” Herrick said.

Maynard stopped a rocket shot by Bess in the 23rd minute to keep Hall-Dale within a goal. But a Bess corner kick found Wood’s knee and the back of the net for a 2-0 Madison lead with 9:13 to go in the half.

Hall-Dale’s best chances to cut into the deficit came on back-to-back free kicks that sailed over the crossbar and a Thea Sweet bid off a nice pass that just missed to the right of the post.

For the most part, Hall-Dale couldn’t get into a flow past midfield. In the rare event Madison’s midfielders didn’t get back, Herrick has three seniors and a junior in the backfield, plus junior goalie Erin Whalen (eight saves), that he trusts to make good decisions.

“We talked about not over-committing. If you can win the ball, win the ball. If you’re not sure, just contain,” Herrick said. “On this huge field, it was difficult. But we do a pretty good job in general with our transition defense. We get our mids back.”

“We really are close off the field, so I think that helps us on the field, being able to talk to each other comfortably and being able to make good passes,” said Holden a right back. “I think really knowing each other really makes it easier to play together.”

Malloy, a freshman, made it 3-0 midway through the second half. Addie Davis got Hall-Dale on the board off a feed from Lilly Ly a short time later.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

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Twitter: @RAWmaterial33