Panthers near title
Mahar #24 attempts to block the ball from the golie Josh Taylor.
On a side kick Goalie Josh Taylor saves a goal from Mahar #23 not on roster
Having already wrapped up its first postseason berth in five years, Pioneer Valley Regional School took a giant step on Wednesday toward its first league title during the same span.
Pioneer scored twice within five minutes of the second half and held Greenfield High School to just two shots in a 2-0 McGrath North Division boys’ soccer match in Northfield.
“This is probably one of the best games I’ve seen us play,” said Panthers’ second-year head coach Ben Bricker. “I thought it was a tournament-quality performance. ...The kids have put the work in and earned it. They made a clear statement.”
Pioneer goalkeeper Josh Hill made only one save, but Bricker said it was a big one, stopping a breakaway midway through the second half. In the 66th minute, the Panthers’ Jeremy Kemble scored the game’s first goal from Anders Paulson.
Five minutes later, Chris Gilbert added an insurance marker with a helper from Paulson.
As happy as Bricker was with his team’s effort, he was a little frustrated by a lack of quality shots — Pioneer recorded 20 shots, but Greenfield keeper Tyler Jacques finished with only three saves.
“We did have a lot of shots but a lot of them are not getting on frame, which we need to work on,” said Bricker.
Pioneer (9-3-2, 5-1-0 North) travels to Mohawk Trail Regional High School Tuesday night at 7.
Frontier 3, Athol 3 — A shootout couldn’t decide things Wednesday night, as Frontier Regional School scored with just over eight minutes to left to earn a 3-3 tie with Athol High School in Schmid Division boys’ soccer action at O’Brien Field in Athol.
The Red Raiders had taken a 2-0 lead in the first half. Alex Page opened the scoring in the 10th minute, assisted by Bradley Bousquet. It remained a 1-0 game until the 38th minute, when Owen King booted home the second Athol tally.
Jamie Blinder pulled the Red Hawks to within a goal when he converted a pass from Robert Rogers-Manatt in the 47th minute.
Blinder tied it with 10:53 to go, assisted by Dan Bronke. Bousquet need just 18 seconds to put Athol back in front with an unassisted goal, but Niko Ames tied it 1:33 later with his unassisted tally.
Frontier held a 14-9 edge in shots. Jamie Posk made 11 saves in the Red Raider goal, while the Red Hawks’ Dylan Husted was credited with four stops.
Athol (7-5-3 overall, 3-3-1 Schmid) is 3-0-3 in its last six games and needs only one more point in its final three games to qualify for the postseason. It can clinch a berth Saturday night at Quabbin Regional High School.
Frontier (5-6-2, 2-3-1) still needs five points in its final four games. Next up is the short drive to Smith Academy at 3:30 p.m. today.
Mohawk 2, Mahar 0 — A pair of second-half goals helped Mohawk beat Mahar Regional School, 2-0, in a McGrath North boys’ soccer match on Wednesday at the Woodward Complex in Orange.
The contest was scoreless until the 62nd minute, when Michael Schuetze struck for an unassisted tally. The Warriors were then awarded a penalty kick with two minutes to go, and goalkeeper Josh Taylor converted the kick for insurance.
Taylor also made 10 saves to record the shutout. Matt Simmington had three stops for the Senators.
Four Rivers 4, Buxton 2 — Four Rivers Charter School scored twice in each half to beat Buxton School, 4-2, in a River Valley Athletic League boys’ soccer match Wednesday in Williamstown.
Finn McMillan, Jack Conant, Asher Kenen and Chandler Thoma all scored for the Otters (7-2-1). Ben Michel recorded two assists and Kai Delorenzo added one.
Four Rivers held a slim 3-2 lead until Thoma struck for an insurance tally with eight minutes to go.
Four Rivers hosts Pioneer Valley Performing Arts School on Friday at 4:15.