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Athol girls upset Taconic, 4-3, move to next round

Athol High School erupted for four first-half goals and hung on for a 4-3 victory over Taconic High School in the first round of the Western Massachusetts Division III Girls’ Soccer Tournament in Pittsfield.

Julia Carey fired home a pass from Olivia Smith just two minutes into the contest to put 10th-seeded Athol up 1-0. The Braves’ Gillian Campbell tied it four minutes later with an unassisted marker before Emily Casella struck for the Red Raiders midway through the half, assisted by Molly Cleveland.

After Taconic’s Shea Hassett scored unassisted to tie it, Cleveland and Smith both netted unassisted tallies before halftime to make it a 4-2 game.

Taconic (8-9-2), the seventh seed, got a goal back with eight minutes left, but Athol (8-7-4) held on for the win and a quarterfinal date with second-seeded Mt. Greylock Regional High School Tuesday night at 6 in Williamstown.

“It was a really good win. The girls played very well,” said Athol head coach Tim Cleveland. “Taconic was slow in the back, so we were able to get behind their defense pretty easily.”

Athol held a slim 15-13 edge in shots. Steph Putnam made eight saves for the Red Raiders. Brooke Mangiardi was credited with nine stops for the Braves.

South Hadley 2, Mahar 1 — South Hadley High School made the most of its first tournament berth in five seasons as it outlasted Mahar Regional School, 2-1, in a Western Mass. Division III first-round tourney game Saturday evening at Elms College in Chicopee.

The eighth-seeded Tigers (10-6-3) broke a scoreless tie in the 31st minute, when star forward Meghan Ginley converted a pass from Rachel Harrington.

Mackenzie Tenney pulled the ninth-seeded Senators even in the 56th minute with helper from Cassidy Verheyen, but South Hadley responded with the eventual game-winner seven minutes later, when Harrington booted home a feed from Danielle Miele.

“It was a helluva effort by the girls. I was proud of them,” said Mahar head coach Chad Softic. “We had a great season.”

South Hadley outshot Mahar, 24-16. Sydney Whitcomb made 15 saves in the Senators’ net. Abby Lukasik was credited with 11 stops for the Tigers.

Lenox 2, Mohawk 1 — Sandra Arace scored two minutes into the second half and Lenox Memorial High School was able to hold off Mohawk Trail Regional High School, 2-1, in the WMass Division IV girls’ soccer tourney quarterfinals Saturday afternoon in Lenox.

“There’s no consolation in losing, but I’m so proud of the girls,” said Warriors head coach Steven Tomi. “This is the best I’ve seen them play all 80 minutes for a long time. They were just relentless.”

The Warriors (6-11-2) grabbed the early lead when Caitlyn Wilkins beat a defender 1-on-1 and fired a low 16-yard shot past Millionaires goalkeeper Lindsey Kelly and into the far corner.

Mohawk nearly got to halftime with the lead, but Lenox struck in the 38th minute when Tova Brown headed home a cross from Sandra Arace.

Arace then struck for the eventual game-winner and only second-half tally when she picked up the rebound of a blocked shot and tucked it into the corner, beating Slowinski to the right side.

Slowinski played a tremendous game for the Warriors, making 17 saves.

“This is the best of any game I’ve seen in her young career,” said Tomi. “She stopped two point-blank shots, and if it wasn’t for her it could have been much worse.”

Tomi was impressed with Lenox, despite its 4-11-4 record.

“They are big kids, just humongous,” he said. “(Arace) just came back from an injury. She’s a terrific player, very gifted, and she’s about 6 feet tall. And their defender Josie Marshall, she looked like a college player, so big.”

Boys’ soccer

Dublin 4, Four Rivers 1 — Dublin School scored twice in each half and went on to defeat Four Rivers Charter School, 4-1, to capture the River Valley Athletic League Boys’ Soccer Tournament championship Sunday at Stoneleigh-Burnham School in Greenfield.

Jack Conant scored the only goal for the Otters (12-3-1). Jackson Reeves-Henning made a dozen saves in goal.

Volleyball

Mt. Greylock 3, Mahar 2 — Mt. Grelyock came to the Grzesik-Bixby Complex on Saturday night and rallied to upset Mahar, 18-25, 25-23, 20-25, 25-22, 15-13, in the first round of the WMass Division III Girls’ Volleyball Tournament.

Katherine Donelan finished with 15 kills and nine aces, while Caoilinn Cronin added 13 kills and seven aces to lead the Senators’ offense. Kelly LeBlanc dished out 37 assists, while Erin Robinson pitched in with 10 kills.

Caitriona Cronin led the defensive effort for sixth-seeded Mahar with 23 digs.

Greylock, the 11th seed, heads back the North Quabbin Region tonight when it takes on No. 3 Athol High School in a 6:30 p.m. quarterfinal match.

Ware 3, Greenfield 0 — Eighth-seeded Ware High School nearly repeated Tuesday’s performance as it rolled to a 25-10, 25-21, 25-17 victory over No. 9 Greenfield in the WMass Division III girls’ volleyball quarterfinals Saturday night in Ware.

The Indians (19-2) advance to tonight’s quarterfinal match at eight-time defending champion top-seeded Frontier Regional School at 6:30.

Manisha Malik led the Green Wave (10-11) with three kills and 10 digs. Alexandra Ortega collected 11 digs, two aces and one kill, Emily Franklin added 10 digs and two kills, and Ashley Lowell contributed three kills, two blocks and once ace.

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