MONTICELLO-The Lady Sages ended the season (9-10-3) with a 2-0 defeat to Decatur St Teresa in the regional first round.
In the sticky summer, St. Teresa managed one goal in the first 20 minutes of the match and scored number two with a free kick in the final few minutes.
The Bulldogs then won regionally.
“We produced some better chances and had some good shots in goal,” Head Coach David McDaniel said, but those free kicks “caused a lot of momentum to be built. But all in all, the girls fought hard until the last whistle, and you can’t get more effort than it’s given.
Although the short of the season was inconsistent, McDaniel showed the weight of what the team has done this year.
“When two-thirds of a team is new to football and you’ve never worked together, a lot of lessons have to happen and in a short amount of time,” he said. “What makes it unique, except for the wild spring weather, is that a lot of new players are quick contributors, which helps with success, while some returning players also play a bigger role.”
Two new players led the team in goals for the season, Megan Allen with 22 and Elle Bodznick with 14.
The duo paved the way for help as well. Bodznick set a new school record for assists in season one with 14, and Allen ended the season with 9.
Of Monticello’s eight goal scorers this season, five are new to the team. Of the 13 Sages who scored assists, eight were new.
“Every player of mine is good from the start to the end of the season and you can’t get more than that,” McDaniel said. “The work ethic and attitude is contagious, and every day, every player wants to be there and push themselves. If the environment is strong, the capacity to learn grows.
Not only did the hodgepodge of new players make a good fight, but it also recorded one of the best seasons in the program under Coach McDaniel, with the highest number of goals scored and the least allowed in the instruction.
The girls also became number two in school history for the number of wins in a season.
Instead of thinking about seasonal losses, McDaniel explained that the team decided to celebrate that year’s accomplishments. He said, “We all went to the ice cream parlor. It just symbolized how good we were – we did everything as a team, heads raised, and all together.
Of course, the best thing about a young team is the promise it will keep for the future. Both of Monticello’s top scorers will return for the upcoming season.
“Our plan is to keep raising the bar,” McDaniel said. “We are still very young, but some gained quality experience this year, so we will build and continue to improve. (We have) a lot of potential going forward for our football program.