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School Soccer Tourney Roundup: Senator girls advance to semifinals, 3-1

  • Above, Mahar’s Delaney Parker (3) moves the ball against Pioneer’s Jordin Hubbard (12) Saturday in Orange, where her host Senators advanced to the WMass Division III girls’ soccer semifinals with a 3-1 win. Below, Pioneer goalie Leah Fuess gathers in a save under pressure from Mahar’s Jazmyn Vautour (23). RECORDER STAFF PHOTOS/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar’s Delaney Parker (3) winds up for a goal in the second half against Pioneer Saturday in Orange, where here Senators beat the visiting Panthers, 3-1. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar’s Delaney Parker (3) follows through on a goal past Pioneer goalie Leah Fuess during second-half action of the host Senators’ 3-1 WMass Division III quarterfinal win Saturday in Orange. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Pioneer goalie Leah Fuess lunges for a save in the second half of Mahar’s 3-1 WMass Division III girls’ soccer quarterfinal win Saturday in Orange. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Pioneer goalie Leah Fuess gathers in a save under pressure from Mahar’s Jazmyn Vautour (23) during the host Senators’ 3-1 WMass Division III girls’ soccer quarterfinal win Saturday in Orange. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Pioneer goalie Leah Fuess runs out to meet the ball for a save under pressure from Mahar's Mollie Burke (4) during WMass Division III girls’ soccer quarterfinal action Saturday in Orange. The host Senators won, 3-1, to advance to the semifinals.

  • Pioneer's Aiden Gries (9) moves the ball against Mahar's Hannah Paul (10) in the first half on Saturday, Nov. 4, in Orange. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Pioneer goalie Leah Fuess jumps up for a save in the first half against Mahar on Saturday, Nov. 4, in Orange. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar's Delaney Parker (3) moves the ball against Pioneer's Liesel Nygard (15) in the first half against Pioneer on Saturday, Nov. 4, in Orange. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar’s Abby Bonk (16) heads the ball off a corner kick in the second half of a 3-1 WMass Division III girls’ soccer quarterfinal win over Pioneer Saturday in Orange. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar's Kianna Reilly (5) settles the ball in the second half against Pioneer on Saturday, Nov. 4, in Orange. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE



Recorder Staff
Sunday, November 05, 2017

Delaney Parker scored a pair of goals to lead Mahar Regional School to the WMass Division III Girls’ Soccer Tournament semifinals with a 3-1 win over Pioneer Valley Regional School in a first-round game Saturday at the Woodward Complex in Orange.

The fourth-seeded Senators (13-2-4) held a wide 40-3 margin in shots, but Pioneer goalie Leah Fuess had a nice day, stopping 21 to keep the 13th-seeded Panthers (9-5-2) within striking distance.

“For the sake of my hair line, I would like to have seen us finish a few more opportunities, but this is exciting,” Mahar coach Chad Softic said. “It was a good win, but it wasn’t as easy as we would have liked it to be. We need to finish better. That’s the big thing in tournament soccer: you need to take advantage of your chances.”

Parker opened the scoring 14 minutes into the game when she finished off a feed from Jeanne Grutchfield and Mahar held the 1-0 lead until 3 minutes, 5 seconds remained in the first half. That’s when Emily Raymond tied the game for the Panthers. Mahar’s defense had been marking the sniper closely, but an odd-man attack by the Panthers forced the defender on Raymond to momentarily switch and Samantha Martinez slid a nice pass to Raymond, who closed in and beat Mahar goalie Elysha Bedard.

It looked like the teams would go into the break tied at 1-1 but Mahar’s Kianna Reilly had other plans. Reilly scored 52 seconds before halftime to send the Senators into the break with a 2-1 lead.

The second half was all Mahar. The Senators punctuated the win with 24:41 to play as Parker got her second of the day on an assist from Abby Bonk.

“We played outstanding in the second half,” Softic said.

Bedard made two saves in the win.

Mahar will host a quarterfinal game Tuesday evening at 6 against fifth-seeded Southwick-Tolland Regional High School. The game marks what is believed to be the first home quarterfinal girls’ soccer game in a long time at Mahar, possibly ever.

Hamp Charter 2, FC Tech 1, OT — Madison Sheehan scored five minutes into overtime and fifth-seeded Hampden Charter School of Science survived a scare from 12th-seeded Franklin County Technical School with a 2-1 victory in a WMass Division VI Girls’ Soccer Tournament first-round game Saturday in Springfield.

“They did everything and anything I asked and they left it all out on the field,” Franklin Tech coach Dan Prasol said. “Unfortunately, we just couldn’t convert. The majority of the game was played at midfield.”

The game was scoreless until the second half when Sheehan staked the Wolves to a 1-0 lead five minutes into the half with an unassisted goal.

Franklin Tech got the equalizer with 13 minutes to play when Brooke Adams got through the Hampden Charter defense for a breakaway and buried the ball, sending the game to overtime, where Sheehan won it with her second of the game.

“We definitely had our opportunities, had momentum going our way, but we couldn’t convert,” Prasol concluded.

Tabi Hamilton stopped 10 shots in the loss.

Boys’ match

Athol 3, Renaissance 2 (OT) — It was a battle of adversity all day Saturday for the eighth-seeded Athol High School boys’ soccer team but the Red Raiders overcame all of it and when Noah Aukstikalnis fired his penalty shot into the goal in the sixth round of penalty kicks it punched Athol’s ticket to the WMass Division III boys’ soccer quarterfinals with a 3-2 victory over ninth-seeded Renaissance School in Athol.

Athol overcame one-goal deficits twice during the game, including a 2-1 deficit at halftime, to force overtime and then had to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the five rounds of penalty kicks to force further kicks. On the first attempts of the sixth round, the Renaissance shooter booted the ball just over the crossbar, which brought up Aukstikalnis, a junior midfielder who had never taken a penalty kick prior to Saturday. But you wouldn’t have known it when he buried his shot into the right pocket for the game-winner.

“Mental toughness is something we’ve focused on a lot this year and it’s something we haven’t seen a lot of growth in: that ability to battle through adversity,” Athol coach Dave King said. “But we gave up a penalty kick early, didn’t put our heads down, rallied and produced our own penalty kick. Then we gave up another goal late in the first half and talked at halftime about persevering, which they did.”

The Phoenix (10-7-2) scored in the 11th minute when Isaiah McCaskill buried the aforementioned penalty kick, but the Red Raiders (13-5-1) earned a PK of their own in the 24th minute and Justin Blake buried the game-tying goal. Renaissance scored again in the 36th minute Tsenu Erkailo scored.

Athol got the equalizer in the 69th minute when Matt Logan set up Hayden Herk, who had moved from the front line to the midfield to help the Red Raiders generate more offense.

Penalty kicks did not start out well for Athol, as the Red Raiders missed their first two shots. Renaissance scored on its first attempt, but Athol goalie Blake, who had subbed in for Jordan Carrasquillo for penalty kicks, made a save on the second try. Renaissance connected on its third attempt and then again on its fourth, and Athol got its first goal on its third attempt when Angel Rivera buried a shot giving the Phoenix a 3-1 edge. That meant that Athol needed to convert its final two shots, and needed a save on Renaissance’s final one in order to keep the shootout going. That’s how it played out, as Hayden Herk and James Laford each scored, and the Renaissance shooter shot high. That set the stage for Aukstikalnis to win it in the sixth round of shooters.

Carrasquillo made 12 saves in the Athol net, while Kyle Kalin stopped nine shots in the loss.

Athol advances to face top-seeded Belchertown High School in tonight’s quarterfinals at 6 in Belchertown.