MADISON — Madison and Hall-Dale both answer to the nickname Bulldogs, but that’s about all their girls soccer teams appear to have in common, at least in this season. Tuesday afternoon, Madison — with designs of championship success — hosted Hall-Dale, which has just 15 players on its roster.

And there was little doubt from the start what the outcome would be.

Junior midfielder Ashley Emery got the first and last of Madison’s goals and Hall-Dale managed just a handful of shots over the 80-minute Mountain Valley Conference contest, won handily by the home-standing Bulldogs, 6-0. It was Madison’s fourth win in five tries this season. Hall-Dale dropped to 1-3-1.

“We’ve preached possession and intensity all season,” said Madison co-coach Erin Wood prior to the contest.

After the game, Wood — who coaches with her father, Michael Walsh — said she was fine with the possession part but not so much the intensity. That’s because Madison put five goals on the scoreboard before halftime, controlling the game with its three star midfielders, including Emery, junior Whitney Bess, and senior Madeline Wood, the granddaughter and daughter of the two coaches. But Emery’s second goal — a bee-bee of a shot from about 18 yards out — was all Madison would get after halftime, leaving both coach Wood and Walsh feeling like there should have been more. Maybe a lot more.

“I was happy with the first half,” Walsh said, “but we were flat in the second half.”

Madison challenged Hall-Dale goalkeeper Maggie Gross right away, with Emery nearly scoring unassisted off a corner kick about 10 minutes into the game. A few minutes later, Emery fired from about 20 yards out off a pass from junior striker Jillian Holden. The ball darted into the back right-hand corner of the net to get Madison on the board.

About two minutes later, the Emery-Holden combination connected again, this time with Holden doing the honors, heading in a Emery corner kick for a 2-0 advantage. Holden used her head again a little more than two minutes later for Madison’s third goal of the game, which had been played almost exclusively on its offensive side of the field. Another seven minutes elapsed before Madison made it 4-0, with Wood rifling a shot past Gross from about 15 yards out off an assist from another of the stellar group of Madison midfielders, junior Sydney LeBlanc. LeBlanc’s freshman sister, Lauria, finished the first half scoring with a point-blank shot off a corner kick from Bess.

Emery capped the scoring with 9:14 showing on the clock in the second half, but otherwise, the pressure Madison applied in the first half seemed to have largely dissipated after the break. Hall-Dale had a chance or two to avoid the shutout, the best coming on a shot by Madisyn Smith that went just wide right about 20 minutes into the half.

It all left Wood and Walsh a little unsettled, because they know what they saw Tuesday might not be enough to get their team where the coaches think it can go. Madison’s only loss this season came in its opening game, 3-2 against undefeated Monmouth. The game was played at Madison, and one of Monmouth’s goals came on a penalty kick — it was that close. But Walsh said his team needs to turn up the intensity if it wants to avenge the defeat.

“One of the problems is, a lot of (conference) teams are very young and we’re not,” Walsh said. “But at times, we lack intensity.”

The rematch with Monmouth is Oct. 6.


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