Boys Soccer: Brady Burch’s goal draws Frontier even with South Hadley

  • South Hadley's Colin Quinn and Frontier's Brady Burch vie for the ball at Herlihy Field in Whately on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • South Hadley's goalie Tyler Evans goes high to stop a Frontier shot at Herlihy Field in Whately on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Frontier's Devin Niles kicks the ball up field while being pursued by South Hadley's Xavier Macon at Herlihy Field in Whately on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Frontier's Brady Burch is defended by South Hadley's Timmy Laporte at Herlihy Field in Whately on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • South Hadley's Carlos David and Frontier's Devin Niles vie for the ball at Herlihy Field in Whately on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Frontier's Chanhee Son kicks the ball up field being pursued by South Hadley's Carlos David at Herlihy Field in Whately on Thursday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 10/21/2021 7:24:21 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Brady Burch saved the day for the Frontier boys soccer team. 

The Redhawks had their way with South Hadley the first two meetings this season, winning both 2-0, but the Tigers brought their best to Herlihy Park on Thursday. South Hadley took a 1-0 lead 10 minutes into the second half and it looked like the lead would hold up. 

That’s when Burch made the biggest play of the game for Frontier. Fernando Saravia made a perfect pass upfield to Burch with 10 minutes to play in regulation. The junior used his speed to get behind the Tiger back line and knock a shot past South Hadley keeper Tyler Evans to tie the game. The score held to the final whistle, finishing in a 1-1 draw.

“Down one late, we were high pressing,” Burch said. “Fernando played a good ball to me, I beat the defense and finished. We were looking more for a win but getting out of there with a tie is better than a loss.” 

Though it looked like they’d be able to sneak out with a victory, the Tigers were pleased to get a positive result against Frontier, especially it being its final game before the Western Mass. tournament kicks off next week. 

“It feels good to finally leave against this team feeling positive,” South Hadley coach Eric Castonguay said. “We’ve been unbeaten in our last six games so we’re coming around. It felt good leading the game for a while. We felt like we had plenty of chances where we could have scored some more but we feel great about what we’ve accomplished in the last month. We’re getting hot at the right time.”

Playing from behind was an unfamiliar position for the Redhawks. Thursday was just the third time Frontier (11-1-3) has trailed in a game this season, leaving Redhawks coach Evan Horton proud of his club’s ability to show fight late.

Horton felt going to a more attacking formation with two strikers helped get Frontier back in the game. 

“We haven’t been down very often this year,” Horton said. “We’ve only trailed in three games and are 1-1-1 in those games. We had two or three chances today that could have put it away. They didn’t stop playing. We didn’t put our heads down and didn’t give up. It took us a lot to get it together. We had to change formations to get it. We went more attacking and were able to see it through. To get the goal and tie, it is important.”

South Hadley’s tally came on after a superb individual effort from Braden Joy. The junior got behind the Redhawks defense and rifled a shot that bounced off the post. Not giving up on the play, Joy went after the bouncing ball and tapped it in past Frontier keeper Dylan Martin to give the Tigers a second half lead. 

While South Hadley was able to possess the ball and produce multiple opportunities, it was the only shot that got past Martin, who finished with five saves in the tie. On the opposite end, Evans made eight saves for the Tigers. 

For Frontier, the tie was its third in the last two weeks. The Redhawks opened the season with 10 straight wins, but they’re 1-1-3 in their last five games. 

Frontier has one final regular season tuneup at Wahconah on Saturday before the postseason begins. Horton said he’s hoping his team can recapture its early season magic once the tournament begins. 

“I still feel good going into the tournament,” Horton said. “I don’t think you can have the success we’ve had and not feel good. We have to figure out who we’re going to be for the end of the season. Any team going into the postseason needs to realize it’s a fresh start, it’s single elimination so we have to get into that mindset. We haven’t been in the postseason in three years so only one player on our team has been in a postseason game. It’s getting into the mindset of playing in that environment. I’m not focusing on our play, I’m focusing on our mindset.” 

South Hadley, on the other hand, is anticipating a potential showdown with powerhouse Belchertown to open the Western Mass. tournament, a challenge they’re looking forward to. 

“With the Western Mass. tournament and state tournament, it’s two different mindsets,” Castonguay said. “In Western Mass. it looks like we’re going to be playing Belchertown. We look forward to that challenge. We scrimmaged them and know how fast they are. In terms of states, who knows. You don’t know what you’re getting but we’re looking forward to it.” 


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