Div. 4 boys soccer: Tyler Dubreuil’s goal lifts No. 4 Frontier past No. 1 Hampshire, into state final

  • Frontier’s Tyler Dubreuil (13), Chanhee Son (17) and Cairn Bright (8) celebrate as they run off the field after winning 1-0 over Hampshire Regional during the Division 4 boys state soccer tournament semifinal game Wednesday night at Chicopee Comp. Photo by Dan Little

  • Frontier goalkeeper Owen Babb makes the final save of the game under pressure from Hampshire Regional’s Owen Miller (17) during the Division 4 boys state soccer tournament semifinal game Wednesday night at Chicopee Comp. Photo by Dan Little

  • Frontier’s Dylan Martin, left, and Brady Burch celebrate with their team after winning 1-0 over Hampshire Regional during the Division 4 boys state soccer tournament semifinal game Wednesday night at Chicopee Comp. Photo by Dan Little

  • Frontier players run onto the field to celebrate after winning 1-0 over Hampshire Regional during the Division 4 boys state soccer tournament semifinal game Wednesday night at Chicopee Comp. Photo by Dan Little

  • Frontier’s Tyler Dubreuil (13) works the ball through Hampshire Regional defenders Brendan Stevenson (19) and Jack Wresien (13) in the second half of the Division 4 boys state soccer tournament semifinal game Wednesday night at Chicopee Comp. Photo by Dan Little

  • Hampshire Regional goalkeeper Elan Kuntz, right, makes a save under pressure from Frontier’s Dante Ruggiano (10) in the first half of the Division 4 boys state soccer tournament semifinal game Wednesday night at Chicopee Comp. Photo by Dan Little

  • Frontier’s Cairn Bright (8), left, clears the ball past Hampshire Regional’s Grady Fern (10) in the second half of the Division 4 boys state soccer tournament semifinal game Wednesday night at Chicopee Comp. Photo by Dan Little

  • Frontier’s Devin Niles (12) clears the ball against Hampshire Regional in the first half of the Division 4 boys state soccer tournament semifinal game Wednesday night at Chicopee Comp. Photo by Dan Little

  • Hampshire Regional’s Matt Solan (7), left, and Frontier’s Chanhee Son (17) fight for possession in the first half of the Division 4 boys state soccer tournament semifinal game Wednesday night at Chicopee Comp. Photo by Dan Little

  • Frontier’s Dylan Martin (3), front, and Hampshire Regional’s Brendan Stevenson (19) fight for a header in the second half of the Division 4 boys state soccer tournament semifinal game Wednesday night at Chicopee Comp. Photo by Dan Little

  • Frontier’s Tyler Dubreuil (13) winds up to pass the ball downfield against Hampshire Regional in the second half of the Division 4 boys state soccer tournament semifinal game Wednesday night at Chicopee Comp. Photo by Dan Little

  • Hampshire Regional goalkeeper Elan Kuntz, left, slides to stop a breakaway attempt from Frontier’s Brady Burch (9) in the second half of the Division 4 boys state soccer tournament semifinal game Wednesday night at Chicopee Comp. Photo by Dan Little

  • Hampshire Regional’s Dan Martin (18), right, works to contain the ball under pressure from Frontier’s Fernando Saravia (15) in the second half of the Division 4 boys state soccer tournament semifinal game Wednesday night at Chicopee Comp. Photo by Dan Little

Staff Writer
Published: 11/17/2021 8:33:47 PM

CHICOPEE — Going into Wednesday night’s MIAA Div. 4 semifinal, the Hampshire Regional boys soccer team had allowed just five total goals in 20 games. 

Frontier bumped that number to six just nine minutes into regulation, a goal that certainly changed the complexion of the semifinal.

Frontier’s Devin Niles won a ball on the left sideline, dribbled in and sent a perfect cross to Tyler Dubreuil. The senior got the ball on his foot and drove it into the back of the net, giving the fourth-seeded Redhawks an early 1-0 lead. Behind a stout defense, the club held from there and pulled off a 1-0 victory over the top-seeded Raiders to advance to the state title game for the first time in school history.

Frontier will face No. 2 Easthampton in an all-Western Mass. Div. 4 final. The date and location of that game had yet to be determined at press time.

“This was a goal of ours at the beginning of the season,” Redhawks coach Evan Horton said. “We’ve achieved a lot of them. We would have liked to have won Western Mass. but winning our league was a goal of ours, winning 10 games to start the year was a goal of ours, and making a run at the state title was one of our goals. We keep putting it together and we’ve found our way. We lost it a little bit in October but we’ve figured it out.” 

The Redhawks (16-2-4) finished with three shots on goal while Hampshire (19-2) had 10 shots on goal, all of which were saved by Frontier freshman goalie Owen Babb. 

“We knew that this Hampshire team was incredibly talented,” Horton said. “We had a game plan and executed it exactly how we wanted. We knew it was going to be a game of chances. We knew they’d get a couple and we’d get a couple and it was going to be who could finish. Tyler happened to put that one away and then we hung on for dear life.” 

The Raiders had held possession and had a few scoring chances both before and after Dubreuil’s strike. Babb came up with a big save in the third minute, stopping a shot from Aidan Miklasiewicz that looked like it had a chance to make it to the back of the net. 

Hampshire had a chance off a free kick just outside the box in the 21st minute, but the shot deflected off the Redhawks’ wall and Babb came up with the save. 

“What was frustrating is we had clear possession of the ball for the first 17 minutes,” Raiders coach Dan Moynahan said. “We had one real chance and two half chances to put one in. They had one chance in our defensive third and scored.”

Frontier looked like it was going to go ahead 2-0 just one minute into the second half. Brady Burch got behind the Hampshire defense and smashed a shot on goal, but Raider keeper Elan Kuntz came up with a sliding save to keep it a one-goal game. 

Hampshire put four shots on goal in the second half to no avail. It’s best chance came in the 56th minute off a shot from inside the box by Jesse Connors, but Babb once again made the save. 

The Raiders had a corner in the final minute but were unable to get a shot out of it, ending the game. 

“It was a matter of us defending,” Horton said. “Owen came up big and our back line played their hearts out today. I knew they were going to go at our left back and David Gray really stepped up today. At their first timeout, we told him they were going to keep coming after him. We told him to own it and he did. The guys helped him, kept their form and that was the story.”

Horton credited Payton Sladeski’s return from injury as a main reason for the success of the Redhawk defense throughout the tournament. 

“We’re a different team with him,” Horton said. “We shut out a team that’s only allowed five goals. Payton is an All-State defender for a reason. When he’s back there, we know he picks up the pieces for us.”

Once Frontier had the lead, it was able to pack in its defense which limited the opportunities for Hampshire. 

“They did a good job of not allowing us to get behind their back four,” Moynahan said. “They pulled their defensive midfielders really close to their back line. The only way in was on the outside. We had a few chances but it wasn’t enough.”

Horton said the fact that his program had past tournament experience playing with an early lead was beneficial. The first time didn't yield the results he wanted, but on Wednesday his squad pulled out the win. 

“We were in this situation four years ago in the Western Mass. final against Belchertown,” Horton said. “That’s what we talked about at halftime. Up 1-0 at the half but eight minutes to go in the game they scored one and then we lost in double overtime. We said we had to make sure that didn’t happen again. Either we score another or we come together to get the win. That’s what we did.”

Now in the finals for the first time in school history, the Redhawks are looking to add another banner to Goodnow Gymnasium.

“We high-pressed all game, contained the midfield and won all the 50/50 balls,” Sladeski said. “It’s incredible to be a part of this. We’re the best team in Frontier history now. It’s exciting.”




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