MONMOUTH —The Monmouth boys soccer team put the pedal to the metal from the get-go in Wednesday’s game against Oak Hill.

Sparked by Hayden Fletcher’s hat trick, the Mustangs defeated the Raiders 7-3 in an early-season Mountain Valley Conference contest.

“We talked about coming out aggressive, and we really focus on it in the pregame warmup to be aggressive,” Monmouth coach Joe Fletcher said. “It gets our heart rate going and it’s always good to get an edge early in the game.”

Hayden Fletcher started the scoring early in the first half when he blasted a shot into the goal to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead.

He scored again midway through the first half to stretch the lead to 2-0.

Both goals came from a little outside the box.

“I saw the right corner open, and I kept (the shots) low, and that’s what I always try to do,” Hayden Fletcher said. “They were both similar (shots).”

Monmouth was in control of the momentum until the Raiders lobbed the ball down the field and Oak Hill’s Landon Bangs won a foot race with a Monmouth defenseman. A sliding Bangs then got off a shot off that beat Monmouth goalie Hunter Frost.

“(Monmouth) has been routinely a difficult club for us to play,” Oak Hill coach Bill Worth said. “They are a solid team and they are well-coached and they got solid players that carry the team. For my guys to keep playing through the full 80 minutes, I appreciate that.”

Near the end of the half, Fletcher fired a few shots over the net. The Mustangs finally added another goal when Jacob Godbout’s cross-field pass found Ryan Michaud, whose goal gave Monmouth a 3-1 lead.

“That (goal) was kind of a breather, it kind of created some separation,” Joe Fletcher said. “We were trying to get one more goal in the first half to create that separation.”

The two teams scored a combined five goals in the first 11 minutes of the second half, starting wit goals by Seth McKenney and Michaud that stretched the Mustangs’ lead to 5-1.

Oak Hill’s Ethan Vattaso won a foot race at midfield that led to a breakaway on which he scored the Raiders’ second goal of the game.

The Mustangs scored two more goals when sophomore Brandon Smith put them up by four goals and then Hayden Fletcher’s third goal of the game to make it 7-2.

Vattaso won another race to the ball and slipped a shot past Frost for his second goal of the game to cut the deficit to 7-3.

“That’s where we have some of our speed, is at the top (at the attack position) and it’s harder on a short field like this to take advantage of that,” Worth said. “We had to adjust a little bit to get those through passes made deeper in the field. When we connected on those diagonal through-passes, that seemed to work for us.”

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