As the first half wound to a close last Thursday, the Monticello boys soccer team was headed in a bad direction. Already losers of four straight, they found themselves down 1-0 with a few minutes left in the first half of their home game against Rogers.
However, as those final few minutes wound down, something seemed to click.
Suddenly, the Magic were the aggressors. They wouldn’t score in the final few minutes, but they did set the tone for the rest of the game.
“We made a few minor adjustments, changed the formation a little bit,” said Coach Chad Carlson. “It seemed to spark the boys.”
Indeed, they came out in the second half with all guns firing. Several pushes down the field resulted first in a tying goal, and eventually in a winning goal, as the Magic stopped their skid with a 2-1 victory over their conference rival.
Monticello got its first goal when Nick Simondet headed in a cross from Rigo Lopez early in the second half.
With the score tied, the Magic continued to control the tempo and the ball. Eventually, another opportunity downfield opened up. With 13 minutes left, Andy Bales found Zach Beaumaster streaking upfield, and Beaumaster did the rest, splitting defenders and putting the ball in the back of the net.
It was the only scoring play for Beaumaster, but it was hardly his only impact on the game.
“Zach really made a difference up there,” said Carlson. “It’s just his drive, his enthusiasm. I think it’s contagious.”
Saturday, Monticello played host to Little Falls. Again they got off to a slow start. Little Falls outplayed the Magic through the first half, and had a 1-0 lead to show for it at the half. But in the second half, roles reversed. Monticello dominated play, yet they didn’t get anything to show for it. At least not until the final minute was ticking away. But then, with 45 seconds left, Bales took a cross from Simondet and punched it into the back of the net to force overtime.
In overtime, Little Falls scored first. But as they did the game prior and in regulation, Monticello bounced back. Beaumaster scored a beautiful goal with under a minute left in overtime to give Monticello an impressive tie.
“They could have shut down and quit,” said Carlson, of each of the two games. “But they kept grinding and fighting back. It was great for the confidence.”