MONMOUTH — When you’re playing a tough team on the road, a tie isn’t such a bad thing.

Carrabec/Madison packed in its defense, picked its spots on offense and came away with a double-overtime scoreless tie against Monmouth Academy as two of the best boys soccer teams in the Mountain Valley Conference squared off Thursday.

Monmouth is 7-1-1 with another big home game Tuesday against once-beaten Hall-Dale while Carrabec/Madison is 6-1-2.

It was evident from the outset that the visiting Cobras planned to counter punch as they spread four defenders across the top of the penalty area. Monmouth held a 10-6 advantage in shots but really had just two good chances to score, once in each half.

“Defensively (we) played the best I’ve seen,” Cobras senior captain and fullback Paul Kaplan said. “This team may not be the most experienced, may not be the most talented but they have a lot of heart. That’s something I value more than any of those things.”

The Mustangs nearly scored midway through the first half when senior Travis Hartford took two shots in the goalmouth following a corner kick. Hartford’s second shot went in but officials ruled he had kicked the ball out of hands of Cobras goalkeeper Seth Padelford (10 saves). The junior goalie, who is one of four players on the team who attends Madison Memorial High School, has been a pleasant surprise for the Cobras this season.

“He hasn’t played since grade school,” Cobras coach P.J. Vicneire said. “For him to be out there in these pressure situations is excellent.”

The Mustangs welcomed senior captains Hunter Richardson and Mat Foulke, who has missed recent games due to injury. Richardson controlled the ball at midfield and sent a number of passes up front to Foulke and teammates.

“We knew they were going to be good, especially how they’re competing,” Richardson. “We had the same record. We knew they were going to pack it in. Our touches, our passes didn’t go as planned. I feel they were looking for the tie and they did a good job earning that.”

Monmouth goalkeeper Brad Neal (six saves) was scarcely tested. The Cobras had their best scoring chance early in the second half when junior forward Dylan Willette had a partial breakaway. But he was harassed by two defenders and his shot sailed high.

The Mustangs had another solid scoring opportunity early in the second half when Foulke launched a hard shot from the right side labeled for the upper corner of the goal. But Padelford came away with a leaping save to keep the game scoreless.

“They packed it in and it appeared they came to tie,” Monmouth coach Joe Fletcher said. “They did what they wanted to do. They made it very difficult for us to generate any good looks. We had a couple.. I feel we have a lot of room for improvement. We forced the ball way too many times. We passed to them and just played it out of bounds.”


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