Soccer: Mahar girls state their case

  • Mahar’s Delaney Parker (3) clears the ball from the sideline in the first half against Hopkins Wednesday in Hadley. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar’s Kianna Reilly (5) sends the ball downfield on a free kick in the first half against Hopkins Wednesday in Hadley. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar’s Sophia Apteker (22) chases down a loose ball ahead of a Hopkins defender in the first half Wednesday in Hadley. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar’s Delaney Parker (3) dribbles the ball upfield in the first half against Hopkins Wednesday in Hadley. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

Recorder Staff
Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The battle for the Pioneer North girls’ soccer circuit has really heated up in the past week, and Mahar Regional School staked its claim for the throne with a monster victory Wednesday afternoon.

The visiting Senators picked up arguably their biggest win of the season, blanking Hopkins Academy, 4-0, in a game between two of the top teams in the North. The win puts Mahar 10-2-4 overall, 6-1-3 in the league, and the Senators can win the league outright if it wins its final two games against Easthampton High School (Friday) and Athol High School (Monday).

“It was a critical win for us in terms of controlling our own destiny in the league,” explained Mahar coach Chad Softic. “The girls came out strong, and although we missed a lot of opportunities early, we continued to get more opportunities.”

Katie Cleveland got the Senators on the board with 12 minutes left in the first half, as she took a feed from Delaney Parker and went in along into the penalty area before burying a shot for a 1-0 lead.

Parker doubled the lead seven minutes later, and Emma Savoy made it 3-0 just before halftime with a rocket of a goal from the top of the 18.

“We really tried to hold possession a little longer by our mids to allow our strikers to make the dangerous runs we want them to make and they did just that,” Softic said. “Against Gateway (a 1-0 loss last week), we never had enough possession to sustain any attack.”

Mollie Burke tacked on an insurance goal early in the second half, taking a pass from Kianna Reilly and blasting a shot into the goal from 30 yards out for a 4-0 lead.

Elysha Bedard made four saves in the Mahar net to pick up the shutout.

Pioneer 2, Smith Voke 0 — The Panthers are postseason-bound.

Host Pioneer Valley Regional School joined the tournament fray with a huge win Wednesday night. Behind goals from Emily Raymond and Kaylee Gibson, the Panthers punched their ticket with a 2-0 shutout of Smith Vocational & Agricultural High School in a key Pioneer South girls’ soccer game in Northfield.

Pioneer (7-5-2, 7-2-1) needed two points in its final three games to qualify for the postseason. The Panthers needed just one game to get the job done, as Raymond broke a scoreless game with a goal 10 minutes into the second half. Gibson added the insurance strike eight minutes later, and the defense, led by goalkeeper Leah Fuess (12 saves), held Smith Voke (8-7, 6-4) scoreless for the team’s fifth shutout of the year.

Eva Pruitt-Dahl assisted on Raymond’s goal. The Panthers held a 17-8 advantage in shots.

Pioneer closes out its season with games against McCann Tech (Friday) and Smith Academy (Monday). The Panthers still have an outside shot of overtaking Pioneer South leader Ware High School (12-1-1, 8-0-1) for the league title.

Mohawk 3, Greenfield 0 — Ashley LaCross scored a goal in each half, and visiting Mohawk Trail Regional High School blanked Greenfield High School, 3-0, in a Pioneer South girls’ soccer game played Wednesday night in Greenfield.

“While I was surprised with our high energy and effort after playing a tough match (Tuesday against McCann Tech), I should have known these nine seniors would not allow a letdown,” lauded Greenfield coach Patrick Garland.

LaCross put Mohawk (5-9-1, 4-4-1) on the board with 6:47 remaining in the first half, tallying an unassisted strike to put the visitors on top, 1-0.

Jaxon Palmer doubled the lead with a goal early in the second half from Mae Rice-Lesure, and LaCross notched her second of the day from Erin Laffond with 15 minutes left for the 3-0 win.

Goalkeeper Lilly Seaver and Grace Poplawski combined for the shutout in the Mohawk net.

Mohawk hosts Smith Academy tonight while Greenfield closes out on the road at Smith Voke Monday.

Athol 1, Narragansett 1 — Grace Dufour scored the lone goal of the game for Athol High School, as the Red Raiders settled for a 1-1 draw on the road at Narragansett Regional High School in an independent girls’ soccer game that was halted after just one half because of poor field conditions caused by Tuesday’s rainstorm.

Dufour scored thanks to an assist from Shelby Mailloux for Athol (6-9-2). Olivia Pineyro tallied for ‘Gansett.

Athol goalkeeper Haley Wrigley recorded seven saves in a half of work between the pipes.

The Raiders close out their season Monday night when they travel to play at rival Mahar Regional School.

Boys’ soccer

Athol 4, Renaissance 3 — Behind a stellar start to the game that saw Athol High School storm out to a 3-0 halftime advantage, the visiting Red Raiders earned a solid 4-3 win over Renaissance School in a Schmid Division boys’ soccer game Wednesday in Springfield.

Maysin Tarbell put Athol (11-5-1, 7-4-1) on top 1-0 with a goal from Hayden Herk. The Raiders had back-to-back tallies from Herk later in the first half, with Bryce King recording both assists, and the visitors led 3-0 at the break.

Renaissance (8-5-3, 6-4-1) cut the deficit to 3-2 with a pair of second-half strikes, including an Athol own-goal for the second tally. Jon Mahoney offered a much-needed insurance goal, however, giving King his third assist of the game and a 4-2 lead.

Renaissance made it 4-3 late, but the goalkeeping tandem of Jordan Carrasquillo and Colby Mason combined for 10 saves to keep the Phoenix at bay.

Sabis 5, Mohawk 0 — Matt Taylor and Rubin Bassett combined to make 18 saves, but host Mohawk Trail Regional High School dropped a 5-0 decision to Sabis International Charter School Wednesday afternoon in a McGrath Division boys’ soccer game in Buckland.

Sabis led 3-0 at halftime on the strength of goals by Brandon Rusinque, Jeremy Townsend and Mehdi Akram.

While the Warriors (0-14-4, 0-9-2) were unable to get anything past Sabis keeper Daniel Santana (six saves), Jovan Wallace and Tre Hodge added second-half goals to account for the 5-0 win.

Sci-Tech 5, Greenfield 0 — A hat trick from Nehemias Ramirez enabled host Springfield School of Science & Technology to capture a 5-0 victory over Greenfield High School in a McGrath Division boys’ soccer game Wednesday in Springfield.

Sci-Tech jumped out to a 2-0 lead at halftime and didn’t look back, as Kirk Allwood and Saad Sabih also found the back of the net for the Cybercats (8-7-2, 6-5-1).

William Lopez recorded five saves in net for Greenfield (0-14-3, 0-9-3), which closed out its season with the defeat.