Cleveland strikes to put Raiders in tourney
Athol #14 Julia Carey and #25 Cassidey Verheyen
Athol #2 not on roster - Mahar #9 Not on roster
Athol #4 Oliva Smith #13 Carly Jillson
Athol #9 Molly Cleaveland and #11 Brittany Gray
Athol High School struggled to find the net during the first 75 minutes, but Molly Cleveland came up with the one shot that saved the Red Raiders from an early offseason.
Cleveland scored the game-tying goal with 4 minutes, 10 seconds left in regulation to help Athol earn a critical 1-1 independent draw with archrival Mahar Regional School in the girls’ soccer regular season finale fore both schools on Tuesday night at the Woodward Complex in Orange.
The tie helped Athol (7-7-4) qualify for the Western Massachusetts Tournament. The Senators (13-3-2) had already qualified.
Mackenzie Tenney had put Mahar ahead with 12:20 left in regulation with an assist from Kianna Whitmore. But Cleveland responded by ripping a 40-yard blast that sailed over Mahar goalkeeper Sydney Whitcomb and into the goal.
“There was nothing (Sydney) could do; it was just a frozen rope,” said Mahar coach Chad Softic. “Right when she hit it, I said. ‘That’s trouble.’”
Athol held a 23-14 advantage in shots. Whitcomb made 14 saves for the Senators. Steph Putnam had eight stops for the Red Raiders.
Ware 3, Greenfield 0 — Ware High School completed an 18-1 regular season as it bested Greenfield High School, 25-12, 25-22, 25-18, in an independent girls’ volleyball match Tuesday night at Ware.
Rachel Pelc led the Green Wave (10-10) with 11 assists and two aces. Emily Franklin collected 10 digs and two kills, and Alexandra Ortega totaled six digs and two kills.
Both teams have qualified for the WMass Tournament, which is scheduled to open on Friday with first-round matches.
Seed meetings on tap
Tuesday was the final night of regular-season soccer matches, and tonight will signal the conclusion of volleyball’s regular season. Now it’s time to find who goes where in the respective postseason tournaments.
Tournament director Jon Cavallo and the rest of the Soccer Tournament Committee will convene at Granby High School today at 1 p.m. to announce the respective fields for the WMass girls’ and boys’ tourneys, which will mark of the debut of the Division IV tourney here.
After all of the WMass schools were realigned in the respective divisions of all sports, Division II was eliminated from soccer and Division IV was created to allow area schools to be more competitive with similar sized schools on the state level, while most — if not all — Division II teams were moved to Division III for the same reason.
On the boys’ Greenfield and Pioneer Valley Regional School were the only area qualifiers in Division IV, while Athol made the Division III field. Some, based on lower enrollment figures, dropped to Division IV.
Mohawk Trail Regional High School was the only Division IV girls’ qualifier, while Mahar and Athol will represent the area in Division III.
• On Thursday, Volleyball tournament director and Debbie Loomer will journey to Agawam High School for the annual powwow with the tournament committee at 10 a.m. to unveil the Division II and III fields.
Athol, Greenfield, Mahar, Turners Falls High School and eight-time defending champion Frontier Regional School have qualified for the Division III tourney (there are no area teams who play in Division II).