SWANZEY CENTER — The Fall Mountain boys’ soccer team’s 3-0 win over Monadnock Wednesday may have seemed like any other victory, but it marked an important step for the program.
Last year’s Wildcats had to go into rebuild mode after the graduation of eight key players and the departure of 20-year coach Tim St. Pierre, and the result was a tough 1-13-2 season.
Now in its second year under coach Josh Beer, Fall Mountain’s win over the Huskies (0-4) improved its record to 2-3, making this season already one notch better than the last one.
“I feel like it’s a big step towards progress,” said Wildcats senior forward Eli Gould, who scored two goals. “Again, we have a young team, but we’re gonna continue to build from here on out.”
Fall Mountain next plays at Newport Tuesday at 4 p.m., while Monadnock plays at Conant Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Fall Mountain took the lead early and kept the pressure up to maintain its advantage. A corner kick in the third minute was deflected out of the box and onto the foot of Nate Town, who fired a missile from about 25 yards out into the far high corner of the net.
“They started well, but let an early goal in,” first-year Monadnock Coach Josh Guion said. “It happens; didn’t recover well, though.”
Gould extended the lead with a pair of heads-up plays on the rebound.
In the 27th minute, Gould’s first shot was stopped by Huskies keeper Matt Trombley, but Gould chased the ball after it deflected nearby and drove his second shot home. In the second half, a shot by Willem Bellows in the 55th minute bounced off the post, and the deflection once again landed near Gould, who chipped it in for his second score.
“He was great, and he was due,” Beer said. “He’s been playing really well, and he’s had a couple really good opportunities, and today we were talking about how the ball is slick and it’s gonna scoot out everywhere, and he was right on top of it.”
Despite the increasing lead, the Wildcats never let up the pressure, winning most of the 50/50 balls and keeping the game on Monadnock’s side of the field for the majority of the game.
Strong pushes by the offense helped spearhead this effort, but the midfielders and backs made sure that clearing the ball past midfield would be a difficult task for the Huskies, and that any offensive possessions would be short-lived. Holding midfielders Eryll Brennan and Brendan Reagan and center backs Syon Gutierrez and Jack Wildes led those controlling efforts.
In the end, first-year goalie Brayden Ring needed to make just one save for the shutout win.
“They were communicating, they held the line and they were perfect,” Beer said.
Despite the constant attacks, Trombley put up a valiant effort in net and finished with 11 saves. Guion praised the efforts of both his keeper and right back Oliver Fougere.
“[Fall Mountain] tried to pick on him all game, and he held his own very well,” Guion said of Trombley. “Matt’s outstanding. All-State caliber goalie every game so far.”
Now that Fall Mountain has taken a small but significant step forward, Gould said the main thing for them is to keep going one game, or one step, at a time.
“One game at a time; continue to work hard,” Gould said.