Panthers earn return trip to semifinals

  • Pioneer striker Garrett Cote narrowly puts the ball wide of PV Christian goalie Matt Porter during the Panthers’ 4-0 WMass Division 4 quarterfinal win over Pioneer Christian Academy Monday night in Northfield. Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

  • Pioneer’s Nate Mousseau challenges for a ball during the Panthers’ 4-0 WMass Division 4 quarterfinal win over Pioneer Christian Academy Monday night in Northfield. Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

  • Pioneer’s Alex Taylor dribbles the ball during the Panthers’ 4-0 WMass Division 4 quarterfinal win over Pioneer Christian Academy Monday night in Northfield. Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

  • Pioneer’s Jack Loud buries a penalty kick during the Panthers’ 4-0 WMass Division 4 quarterfinal win over Pioneer Christian Academy Monday night in Northfield. Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 11/5/2018 10:22:27 PM

NORTHFIELD — After losing, 1-0, to Lenox Memorial High School in the WMass Division 4 Boys Soccer Tournament semifinals last season, Pioneer Valley Regional School had its sights set on getting back to and beyond the semifinals this season. On Monday, the Panthers were all business as they accomplished the first half of that goal.

Garrett Cote set up Noah Keith for a pair of goals and the second-seeded Panthers dominated from start to finish to dispatch seventh-seeded Pioneer Valley Christian Academy, 4-0, during a rain-soaked quarterfinal contest.

The Panthers (10-3-3) advanced to Thursday night’s semifinal game and will face the winner of tonight’s quarterfinal game between third-seeded Westfield Tech and sixth-seeded Monson. That game will be at a site and time still to be determined.

“It’s a really nice chance for our seniors,” sophomore midfielder Felix Pruitt-Dahl said of the return trip. “It was really sad last year when we lost, because the seniors meant a lot to us, so this year we want to go all the way.”

Pioneer did not leave anything to chance, as it jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first half behind a dominant performance that featured numerous chances. Cote, who was involved in creating all four goals as he also drew a penalty kick that led to the Panthers’ second score, said the team played its best all-around game of the season.

“I think all season, this is the most complete game we played against a really good team in Pioneer Valley Christian Academy,” he began. “As a team, we just continue to build our chemistry and we are really hitting are stride right now. We are trying to ‘Reverse the Curse’ because last year we lost in the semis, so that is kind of our motto, to get back there and get a ‘W.’” 

Pioneer pressured early and got on the board 14 minutes, 17 seconds in when Cote took a pass 12 yards out to the right of the goal and sent a quick cross over to Keith, who was also 12 yards from goal, even with the left-side post. Keith volleyed the ball out of the air with a right-footed shot that beat Eagles’ goalie Matt Porter.

The Panthers continued to pressure and three minutes later struck again. A 30-foot blast off the foot of Nate Mousseau beat Porter high but rang off the crossbar and shot into the air. Cote tracked the ball down to the left of the goal and attempted to move to the front of the net but was met by an Eagle defender and Porter, and the collision sent him sprawling and earned Pioneer a penalty kick. Jack Loud stepped to the stripe and buried the shot.

Both teams settled into the game from there as the rain picked up intensity and it looked like the Panthers were going to take the two-goal lead into the break Pioneer got another chance four minutes before the break. Cote took a pass just inside the box and carried it toward the right-side post before sending a cross in front of the goal where Jacob Quinn was running onto. Quinn turned his back to the net to shield the defender off and flicked a back-heel into the net.

The second half was devoid of much drama, as Pioneer controlled much of the play. Keith finished off the scoring midway through the frame after Cote sent a low cross from the right side of the net that Porter attempted to dive to stop, but the ball trickled under him and right to Keith, who had an open net to bury it into for his second of the night.

Ryan Underwood had a quiet night in the Pioneer net, stopping three shots before giving way to backup Zephyr Monette, who stopped one shot to complete the shutout.

Porter finished with 15 saves in the loss.

Pioneer 4, PV Christian 0

PV Christian

0

0

0

Pioneer

3

1

4

Goals: (P) Keith 2, Loud, Quinn.

Assists: (P) Cote 3.

Shots: PV Christian 4. Pioneer 19.

Saves: (PVC) Porter 15. (P) Underwood 3, Monette 1.


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