Alone At The Top

MONTICELLO — Monticello soccer coach Britnee Wright decided during Tuesday’s practice session that she was going to make a change at goalie and offer the challenge of holding White Hall out of the back of the net in Friday’s key 5A-Southeast match to Dillon Todd.

Todd responded by making one crucial save after another, recording 14 stops as the Billies blanked the Bulldogs 1-0 at Hyatt Field, catapulting Monticello to the top of the conference standings.

It was the first win in school history for Monticello (6-4, 3-0 in 5A-Southeast) over White Hall and puts the Billies on the fast track to make a solid run at a conference title.

“This is the biggest win for the school in soccer history, yes,” Wright said. “Both teams were excellent tonight. It just came down to who could get it in the back of the net.”

In a game where offense was at a premium and defense held its own, Monticello scored the lone goal by accident. Monticello forward Jeremy Russell was looking to feed a through ball to a teammate when the ball ricocheted off White Hall’s Donaven Jordan and careened over Cody Jones’ head, ruining an otherwise perfect night for the Bulldog goalie.

White Hall’s Kinzie Kight watched as the play unfolded.

“He took a shot from 20 or 25 yards out and one of our defenders tried to deflect it this way,” Kight said. “It just bounced off his foot wrong and our goalie couldn’t stop it. That happens sometimes. We are just going to go home, watch the film and hope to learn something from this.”

White Hall (8-3, 2-1) had multiple opportunities to score, especially in the second half. But Todd denied every effort.

Todd also caught a break or two along the way. White Hall’s Jordan Lawson bounced a header off the upright early in the first half and Ben Malone missed an open-goal opportunity at the 28-minute mark minutes later. But it was Todd’s rejection to the flurry of activity in front of the goal in the second half that helped preserve the win.

“I take my hat off to the Monticello team. They played a fantastic game,” White Hall coach Don Malone said. “We came out flat after that big win Tuesday (against Sylvan Hills). We had a light practice yesterday and talked about keeping that hunger and keeping that want to.

“In the first half, it was obvious … we did not have the want to. In the second half, we had a little flurry but it wasn’t enough.”

Logan Bone, who normally plays goalie, said Wright’s decision to switch gears against White Hall was just fine with him.

“Defense is my normal position,” Bone said. “I am really comfortable playing there.”