H.S. Soccer: Smith Academy knocks off Greenfield boys, 4-1

  • Greenfield goalkeeper Alex Carballo deflects a shot by Smith Academy’s Roger Grondin in Greenfield on Wednesday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Greenfield’s Sam Bakare, left, and Smith Academy’s Roger Grondin battle for control of the ball in Greenfield on Wednesday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Greenfield’s Theo Popusoi, left, tries to get past Smith Academy’s Gavin Buckingham in Greenfield on Wednesday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Smith Academy’s Ryan Herlihy, left, is defended by Greenfield’s Jayson Smith in Greenfield on Wednesday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Smith Academy’s Ryan Gage keeps the ball in bounds while being pursued by Greenfield’s Dante Ruggiano in Greenfield on Wednesday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Greenfield’s Henry Zaccara dribbles the ball during action against Smith Academy in Greenfield on Wednesday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Greenfield’s Caleb Duncan, left, and Smith Academy’s Wyatt Jeffress battle for possession in Greenfield on Wednesday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Greenfield’s Henry Zaccara, left, and Smith Academy’s Wyatt Jeffress battle for control of the ball in Greenfield on Wednesday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 4/21/2021 8:27:53 PM

GREENFIELD — It was relentless pressure from the opening whistle for the Smith Academy boys soccer team on Wednesday.

Greenfield — playing with just one substitute — struggled to gain possession early, though the Falcons weren't putting many shots on goal.

Once Smith Academy got aggressive it capitalized on its chances however, scoring three times in the first half to pave the way for a 4-1 victory.

“Smith is very talented,” Greenfield coach Andy Rup said. “They’ve been playing together for a long time now. [Smith coach] Jason [Duncan] does a fantastic job. His kids are disciplined and they played well.”

Four different Falcons found the back of the net, with Wyatt Jeffress, Ryan Gage and Logan Graves scoring in the first half. Ryan Herlihy added an insurance goal in the second half.

“It was a nice bounce-back game,” Duncan said. “We had a hard game Monday against Frontier [a 2-1 loss]. Greenfield always plays us tough up here. It’s a smaller field than ours so we had to adjust to the spacing. We got sucked into playing in tight spaces but we played through it today. It feels like we get in a funk up here but we avoided that today. Greenfield played hard and they made us work.”

The first 10 minutes of the game were spent almost exclusively in the Green Wave end, though the Falcons were unable to force Greenfield keeper Alex Carballo into action.

That changed in the 12th minute, as Gage made a great kick-in to Herlihy, who then crossed it to Jeffress for an open goal to give Smith Academy the early lead.

Once the Falcons saw one go through, the pressure intensified. Herlihy just missed a shot from the top of the box in the 15th minute and Roger Grondin’s shot in the 23rd minute went just wide.

Those misses nearly cost Smith, as Greenfield’s Dante Ruggiano raced up field, made a swift cutback move and dished it to Henry Zaccara at the top of the box. The junior then took a dribble to his right and fired it into the goal to tie the game 1-1 in the 24th minute. 

The Falcons tallied two goals in the final eight minutes of the first half to change the complexion of the game. 

Riley Intrator set up the first strike, dribbling into the box and passing to an open Gage who buried the shot to put Smith ahead 2-1 in the 32nd minute. 

Two minutes later Graves blasted a shot in to give the Falcons a 3-1 lead going into the half. 

“We had a tough time in the middle,” Rup said. “Not having a ton of subs is a killer. We were competitive throughout though. We played hard and we didn’t give up.” 

Both teams struggled to generate good scoring chances in the second half as the defenses stood strong. 

With six minutes to play, Intrator set up Herlihy for a goal, drawing the defense before making the dish for the easy score that iced things away.

Carballo stood tall in goal for the Green Wave, coming up with a plethora of saves to prevent the Falcons lead from ballooning. 

“He’s been a rock every single game,” Rup said of his goalie. “He’s always up for it. Ever since his freshman year when I got here, he told me he’d play goal and had no problem with it. He goes hard every day. He comes out and gets the job done. The sad thing is he’s a talented player in the field but we don’t have the chance to show it.”

The game functioned as Senior Night for Greenfield, and lone senior Alex Bacigalupo played his final home game for the Wave. 

“Hats off to Alex,” Rup said. “He comes to practice every day and works his butt off. He never complains, he does every drill 100-percent and he’s a delight to have. I’m glad I’ve had a chance to work for him for three years. I couldn’t have asked for a better senior.” 

Greenfield closes out its season Thursday against Frontier, with kickoff set for 4 p.m. in South Deerfield.


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