MONMOUTH — These Bulldogs have bite, both early and late.

Senior striker Jillian Holden’s goal in the 98th minute lifted No. 2 Madison to a 2-1 double-overtime win over top-seeded Monmouth on Wednesday afternoon at Chick Field, avenging a regular season defeat and pushing the Bulldogs into the Class C state championship game.

Madison (16-1-0) will play Houlton (16-1-0) at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Deering High in Portland.

Holden’s day, which also included a goal in the first minute of play, bookended a 14-save effort from senior goalkeeper Lauren Hay.

“We wanted to get that win,” said Hay, whose only loss of the season came to the Mustangs. “I wanted to make it to states.”

An errant touch by Monmouth sophomore midfielder Natalie Grandahl sent Holden running down the right side of the pitch, where she beat two Mustang defenders and cut a decisive path toward the goal. Monmouth goalkeeper Destiny Clough got a piece of Holden’s shot, but not enough to keep it from skipping into the back of the net less than three minutes into the second 15-minute session of extra time.

“I went through and my shot was just hard enough to get right through her legs,” Holden said. “I was looking to just get it in there. Anything works. A goal is a goal.”

The contest featured many — sometimes inexplicable — shifts in momentum between the two Mountain Valley Conference heavyweights.

Madison (16-1-0) roared out of the starting gate with Holden’s goal on a sloppy field only seconds after the opening kickoff. For the next nearly 10 minutes, the Bulldogs were on the offensive, until the counter-attack for Monmouth (15-2-0) started gaining traction and produced freshman Alicen Burnham’s strike in the ninth minute.

The final 20 minutes of the first half belonged entirely to the home side, with the Mustangs boasting 14 shots, including 10 on target, at halftime. Audrey Fletcher nearly took advantage of chaos in the Madison back line in the 20th minute, but her bid from 12 yards sailed over the crossbar. At the 33-minutes mark Tia Day beat Bulldog Whitney Bess cleanly for a shot that Hay saved at the near post, and three minutes later Hay made consecutive stops to thwart a building Mustang opportunity — finally diving to turn away an unmarked Emily Grandahl.

“When you get opportunities and you don’t finish them off, you always think it’s going to haunt you,” Monmouth coach Gary Trafton said. “We didn’t have as many in the second half as we did in the first half, and you had that (play) where Tia tried to heel it in and the goalie was right there. What are you going to do?”

Monmouth’s pressure spilled over into the second half, with Hay making a short-side stop on Fletcher only to see the ball fall to Day inside the six-yard box. Quickly thinking, Day tried to back-heel the ball past an unaware Hay for the go-ahead goal — only Hay was one step ahead of her and gobbled the ball up.

“My hips have been really bothering me lately, and I was just trying to push through it and make saves,” Hay said.

“What we asked them to do was to play good defense the whole game,” Madison co-coach Mike Walsh added. “They did. We asked them to push forward where they could and try to work the wings. If we put it down the middle (Monmouth sweeper Abbey Allen) hammered it back… We were trying to do that the whole game, but we just did it better at the end.”

It showed as the last 10 minutes of regulation approached, as Madison went back on the front foot. A corner kick in the final seconds dropped neatly at the back post between three Bulldog attacking players, none of whom could get a finishing touch on the ball.

The first extra session was all Madison, statistically and territorially, and it stayed that way until Holden booted the Bulldog’s into Saturday afternoon’s state final.

“These girls have worked so hard all year, and they wanted this so badly, they just pulled it from… Well, I don’t know where they get it,” Walsh said. “They didn’t run out of energy. They just kept it going.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.