Panthers closing in on .500

It seems to be coming together for the Pioneer Valley Regional School boys’ soccer team.

The Panthers pushed their unbeaten streak to four games with a 0-0 draw against Granby High School Tuesday afternoon in Granby. After starting the season at 0-3-0, the team has gone 2-0-2 to close in on the .500 mark. Part of the reason for the slow start may have been the absence of a head coach to start the preseason, the result of last year’s coach, Heyden Martin, leaving for a college job just days before practice was scheduled to start. Ben Bricker took the job and, after a late start, has the team on the right track.

“We’ve picked up our play lately,” he said. “If you look at the guys from the first game of the season until now, it’s like night and day. We’re learning to work as a team and communicate on the field instead of playing individualistically.”

Making the feat even more impressive was the fact that due to disciplinary issues the team played with just nine players in the second half Tuesday. Brian Aja started in net for the Panthers and turned aside all 11 shots he faced to secure the tie. Brett Sullivan made three saves for the Rams (4-3-4).

Gateway 2, Greenfield 0 — Mike Arel stopped four shots to record the shutout in goal and lead Gateway Regional High School to a 2-0 independent win over Greenfield High School in boys’ soccer action Tuesday at Veterans Memorial Field in Greenfield.

Jean Baillargeon scored both goals for the Gators, the first in the 25th mintute and the second seven minutes later. Both goals were unassisted.

Greenfield held a 9-8 edge in shots. Mike Duclos made four saves in the Green Wave goal.

“It was a very good back-and-forth game,” said Wave head coach Kurt Richardson. “We had our chances.”

Greenfield (4-7-1 overall) hosts Mohawk Thursday at 3:30

Girls’ matches

Mahar 1, Mohawk 0 — Michaela Boatwright made five saves to help Mahar Regional School outlast Mohawk Trail Regional High School, 1-0, in a Franklin County League girls’ soccer contest Monday in Buckland.

Mackenzie Tenney scored the game’s only goal in the 26th minute by taking control of a bad clearing attempt by the Mohawk defense, controlling the ball and firing a shot past Warriors goalkeeper Sally Slowinski.

The Senators (7-5-1, 5-3-0 FCL) registered 18 shots to Mohawk’s seven. Slowinski kept the Warriors (3-7-0, 3-4-0) in the contest by making 16 saves.

“I’m proud of my girls. They played really hard,” said Mohawk head coach Steve Tomi. “They tried really hard but just couldn’t knock one in (for the tie).”

Mahar doesn’t return to the pitch until Monday, when it hosts Hampden Charter School at 3:30 p.m. Mohawk plays next on Saturday at home against Mount Greylock Regional High School at 4 p.m.

Frontier 1, South Hadley 1 — It has been a tough season for Frontier Regional School but on Tuesday the Red Hawks showed they still have plenty of fight in them.

Amanda Calvo scored with three minutes remaining in the game to tie the score and Frontier earned its first Grieve Division point of the season with a 1-1 draw against South Hadley High School at Herlihy Field in Whately.

The game was scoreless until the second half when Gigi Thibeault scored on an assist from Rachel Harrington. South Hadley goalie Abby Lukasik (13 saves) held the Frontier offense at bay nearly the rest of the way but Casey Michalowski set up Calvo with the game-tying goal in the 77th minute to send Frontier home with a point. Camilla Baronas backstopped the effort with a 19-save effort.

“It doesn’t tell by the score but they’re playing together, they’re making better passes, they’re playing better as a team,” Frontier coach Jen Self said. “Camilla was phenomenal today. She’s an amazing goalie. She knows where to be, she’s vocal back there, and she’s a leader.”

Renaissance 1, FC Tech 0 — Renaissance School’s defense surrendered just two shots on goal and its offense benefited from an own goal to edge Franklin County Technical School, 1-0, in a Tri-County League girls’ soccer match Tuesday in Springfield.

The Phoenix scored in the 32nd minute on a corner kick. As the ball sailed into the front of the net, an Eagle defender tried to clear it but it deflected off her leg toward the far corner and bounced off the post before dribbling over the line.

Renaissance owned a 16-2 shot advantage. Johanna Feliciano made two saves for the shutout, while Franklin Tech’s Brooke Meuse rejected nine shots.

Franklin Tech hosts Putnam at 4 p.m.

Athol 4, Greenfield 0 — Athol High School scored three late goals to pull away from Greenfield High School, 4-0, in FCL girls’ soccer action on Tuesday in Greenfield.

Ashley Javier scored the only first-half tally, assisted by Tanner Favreau

It remained a one-goal game until the 70th minute when Olivia Smith converted a pass from Molly Cleveland. That started the brief offensive onslaught to put the game away. Smith assisted on Katie O’Neil’s marker to make it 3-0. Then Smith closed it out with her unassisted goal. All three goals came in a span of five minutes.

Felicia Martin stopped two shots to register the shutout for the Red Raiders (6-2-3, 5-1-3). Allie Roe made seven saves for the Green Wave.

Smith Academy 4, Pioneer 0 — Four players scored for Smith Academy on Tuesday en route to a 4-0 victory over Pioneer in a FCL game in Hatfield.

Olivia Hanson, Cassidy Snyder and Sara Pawloski each scored in the opening 15 minutes first half to give the Falcons (10-1) a 3-0 lead. Netta Williams added a marker in the second half to complete the scoring.

Snyder added an assist and now has 103 career points after eclipsing the 100-point plateau last week. Snyder, a junior, has 82 career goals.

Brooke Pashek, McKenzie Wilson and Hanson finished with five combined saves in the shutout. Jackie Lafleur made 13 saves in the Pioneer net in relief of starting goalie Alyssa Weld.

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