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School Soccer: Mahar roars back for 2-1 win

  • Mahar’s Matt Jenks (8) jumps up for a header attempt against Pioneer Tuesday during his visiting Senators’ 2-1 boys’ soccer win in Northfield. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Pioneer’s John Loud (4), left, blocks Mahar goalie Alex Gurganus’ attempt to clear the ball in the first half of their boys’ soccer game won by the visiting Senators, 2-1, Tuesday in Northfield. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Above, Pioneer’s Bradley Norwood (18) sends the ball upfield, defended by Mahar’s James Temple (15), during second-half action of the visiting Senators’ 2-1 boys’ soccer win Tuesday in Northfield. Below, winning Mahar goalie Alex Gurganus punts the ball downfield during second-half action. RECORDER STAFF photos/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar’s Jacob Temple (9) takes a shot against Pioneer during second-half action of their boys’ soccer match Tuesday, won by the visiting Senators, 2-1, Tuesday in Northfield. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar’s Drew Riley (30) moves the ball upfield, defended by Pioneer’s Joel Emberly (16), during second-half action of the visiting Senators’ 2-1 boys’ soccer win Tuesday in Northfield. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar goalie Alex Gurganus punts the ball downfield during second-half action of his visiting Senators’ 2-1 boys’ soccer win over Pioneer Tuesday in Northfield. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Pioneer’s Noah Keith (2) vies for possession against Mahar’s Andrew Herk (12) during second-half action of the visiting Senators’ 2-1 boys’ soccer win Tuesday in Northfield. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Pioneer’s Noah Keith (2) vies for possession against Mahar’s Riley Drew (30) during second-half action of the visiting Senators’ 2-1 boys’ soccer win Tuesday in Northfield. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar’s Andrew Herk (12) throws the ball in during the second half of his Senators’ 2-1 boys’ soccer road win over Pioneer Tuesday in Northfield. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar’s Jonathan Blattenberger (14) jumps up for a header, contended by Pioneer’s John Loud, during second-half action of the visiting Senators’ 2-1 boys’ soccer win Tuesday in Northfield. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE



Recorder Staff
Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Mahar Regional School and Pioneer Valley Regional School figure to be right in the thick of the McGrath Division race and on Tuesday afternoon the Senators drew first blood.

Mahar scored a pair of goals nine minutes apart late in the first half to overcome an early deficit and went on to defeat Pioneer, 2-1, in Northfield.

The Panthers (2-1-0) got off to a fast start when Noah Keith scored on an assist from Jordan Loughman in the 12th minute to put the hosts ahead 1-0.

“We really had a lot of mental mistakes to open the game,” Mahar coach Dan Guertin said. “What was good was that those things can be addressed, and we kind of worked on correcting them throughout the game. But today was a real challenge.”

Mahar (2-0-0) tied the game in the 28th minute when Matt Jenks scored an unassisted goal. Nine minutes later, Jenks set up James Temple for the go-ahead goal.

The second half produced chances for both teams — Mahar held a 15-14 edge in shots for the game — but Mahar goalie Alex Gurganus made several strong saves to preserve the win. Gurganus stopped 10 shots, while Ryan Underwood turned aside nine shots in the loss.

Mahar hosts rival Athol High School Thursday night at 7. Pioneer is off the rest of the week.

Athol 6, Gateway 2 — Hayden Herk recorded a hat trick Tuesday night and Athol High School bounced back from a season-opening loss to defeat Gateway Regional High School, 6-2, in a Schmid Division boys’ soccer game in Huntington.

Athol was making its second long trip of the season, as the haul to Huntington was only slightly longer than the Red Raiders’ season-opening trip to Easthampton High School last week. Against Easthampton, Athol had 25 minutes to prepare for the game after getting off the bus and struggled in a 4-0 loss to the Eagles. Against Gateway, the varsity team played after the junior varsity game, so Athol had plenty of time to prepare.

“We got off the bus and had 2½ hours before we played. So, we got to settle in a little bit,” Athol coach Dave King explained. “We started the season with two long trips. To come out of it 1-1 is nice.”

That extra time appeared to pay off as Athol struck twice in the opening five minutes. Herk opened the scoring in the third minute by finishing off a feed from Bryce King, and Noah Aukstikalnis scored two minutes later off an assist from Angel Rivera.

Gateway got one goal back in the 20th minute when Robert Causser scored an unassisted goal, but Athol scored just before halftime as Matt Logan finished off a feed from King.

The Red Raiders continued to pour it on in the second half. Rivera scored five minutes into the frame on an assist from Herk, and Herk made it 5-1 in the 55th minute on a helper from Rivera. Joe Coon got a goal back for the Gaters, but Herk completed his hat trick with 15 minutes to play on King’s third helper of the game.

“Hayden did exactly what we need him to do,” King said. “He just has an ability to finish and we try to get him the ball in a position where he can finish.”

Jordan Carrasquillo made 11 saves in the Athol net to earn the win.

Greenfield 2, Mohawk 2 — Greenfield High School scored off a corner kick in the waning minutes of the game Tuesday to earn a 2-2 draw with Mohawk Trail Regional High School in a McGrath Division boys’ soccer game in Buckland.

Greenfield took a 1-0 lead on a John Diaz goal but Mohawk tied the game before halftime. The Warriors took a 2-1 lead in the second half, but Alejandro Diaz took a corner kick late in the game that went off a Mohawk defender and into the goal to tie the game.

Putnam 2, FC Tech 0 — A pair of second-half goals doomed Franklin County Technical School Tuesday. Host Putnam Vocational Technical Academy took advantage of a pair of deflections to snag a 2-0 independent boys’ soccer victory in Springfield.

Despite outshooting the Beavers by a 15-8 margin, FC Tech (0-2) watched as Putnam took a 1-0 lead in the 42nd minute when Wilfredo Vega tallied off a miscue in the back. The hosts scored an insurance goal in the 74th minute when Yeamon Henry’s shot off a set piece deflected off a defenders’ head and over goalkeeper Grayson Funk to make it 2-0.

FC Tech next hosts Greenfield High School in an independent contest Thursday in Turners Falls.

Girls’ matches

Hopkins 2, Athol 1 — An early deficit proved to be too much for Athol High School to overcome Tuesday night.

The host Red Raiders trailed 2-0 after just 11 minutes of action, and despite cutting into the lead with an early second-half goal, Hopkins Academy managed to hold on for a 2-1 victory in a Pioneer North girls’ soccer game in Athol.

Tia Fyden and Juliette Cook tallied in the first 11 minutes for Hopkins (2-0-1, 2-0-1), staking the visitors to a 2-0 lead.

Athol (1-2, 1-2) stormed back early in the second half when Amber Mahony slammed a shot into the back of the net just 48 seconds into the frame with an assist from Shelby Mailloux to make it 2-1. The Red Raiders couldn’t tally the equalizer however, as Hopkins goalkeeper Mary Kate Farnham was able to make the lead hold up for the road win.

“(Hopkins) came out guns blazing in the first 15 minutes and took it to us,” began Athol coach Tim Cleveland. “After that it was probably a 50-50 battle. We came out with a little fire in the second half, got the goal and played a little more in front of their net. But the last 10 minutes, we just couldn’t get a break.”

Peyton Parker recorded seven saves in the Athol net.

The Raiders stay in Pioneer North action when they travel to play Easthampton High School Thursday afternoon.