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WMass boys soccer: Frontier Regional clips South Hadley in double-overtime

  • Elliot Johnson, center, of Frontier Regional, celebrates his goal with Connor Bagdon in the first half during a game against South Hadley, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 at South Hadley High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Max McCurdy, front, of South Hadley, passes the ball as Doug Hanieski, of Frontier Regional, approaches, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 at South Hadley High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jon Wooley, center, of Frontier Regional, shoots against South Hadley, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 at South Hadley High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Liam Joy, right, of South Hadley, goes to the ball against Tenzin Tsundue, of Frontier Regional, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 at South Hadley High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ethan DeMaio, right, of Frontier Regional, moves the ball amid South Hadley defenders Tyler Evans, from left, Max McCurdy and Jonas Clarke, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 at South Hadley High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Frontier’s Jon Wooley (right) battles with South Hadley’s Theo Adams, Friday, in South Hadley. Wooley tallied the game-winner just seconds into double overtime to lift the Red Hawks to a 2-1 win in the WMass Div. 3 first round. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Tyler Evans, left, of South Hadley, moves the ball against Doug Hanieski, of Frontier Regional, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 at South Hadley High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Doug Hanieski, top, of Frontier Regional, heads the ball against South Hadley, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 at South Hadley High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Declan Joy, left, of South Hadley, and Sam Felton-Emrick, of Frontier Regional, go to the ball, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 at South Hadley High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • South Hadley’s Ashton Sanford, left, and Frontier’s Doug Hanieski battle during the Red Hawks’ 2-1 victory Friday. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Liam Joy, center, of South Hadley, moves the ball between Frontier Regional defenders Tom Kurkulonis, left, and Tenzin Tsundue, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 at South Hadley High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Tenzin Tsundue, right, of Frontier Regional, moves the ball against Max McCurdy, of South Hadley, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 at South Hadley High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS



Staff writer
Friday, November 02, 2018

SOUTH HADLEY — Jon Wooley fired the ball toward the 6-yard box, probing for a crease in South Hadley’s defense or his charging attackers. Neither them nor South Hadley keeper Clayton Koppi reached it with an extremity before it nestled into the bottom-left corner of the net.

“In the moment I looked across the goal and saw the opening,” Wooley said. “That was crazy.”

Less than 30 seconds elapsed in the second overtime of the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament first-round game between No. 9 Frontier Regional and No. 8 Tigers. The 2-1 overtime winner propelled the Red Hawks to the boys soccer quarterfinals, where they’ll play No. 1 Pope Francis.

The game’s time and date is still being determined. The Cardinals (13-2-3) beat the Red Hawks 3-0 on Oct. 10.

“We’re looking for revenge,” Frontier senior Connor Bagdon said. “We’re ready for them.”

Bagdon picked up the assist on Wooley’s winner. He floated a pass down the right side near the 20-yard marker. Frontier scored on its first possession of the overtime after kicking off.

“We normally play more of a defensive formation, but we knew if we were going to have any success today we are going to have to put pressure on their back line,” Frontier coach Evan Horton said. “We were able to keep the ball in our end. We knew keeping the ball away from Liam Joy was going to be important for us.”

Joy showed them why in the 26th minute. Max McCurdy sent a through ball down the left side for the Tigers’ senior striker. He settled it with one touch then juked Frontier keeper Peter Broke with a second, leaving himself a wide open net for the 1-0 lead.

“We talked about being unselfish, and that’s exactly what happened. Their keeper was out pretty far,” South Hadley coach Eric Castonguay said. “For Liam to do that, it was expected.”

South Hadley’s lead didn’t last long. Noah Jacques found Elliott Johnson on the right side of the net, and he one-timed the shot to tie the game at 1.

“(Johnson) has not played in a lot of games for us this year,” Horton said. “He’s been working his butt off in practice. Multiple players came up to me and said ‘he’s doing everything we’re asking.’ I felt there was something for him there tonight to be in the game for us and give us a spark.”

The teams largely traded long balls and counterattacks for the remaining 53 minutes of regulation. Physicality picked up, as South Hadley’s Alex Lerch and Frontier’s Ben Morse and Connor Waitkus picked up yellow cards.

Bronke made one of his six saves on a Declan Joy breakaway in the 86th minute before the teams settled into overtime. Koppi stopped eight shots for the Tigers.

It was South Hadley’s first playoff game in six years, while Frontier made the semifinals last season.

“It helped having Bags, having Doug (Hanieski),” Johnson said.

South Hadley seniors Liam Joy, Koppi, Lerch, Liam Selby-Welch and Michael Zhou played their final game for the Tigers. They shepherded a South Hadley program that won just two games two years ago and missed the postseason by a single point last year.

“I feel for the seniors. I’m happy they at least got to feel what this was like,” Castonguay said. “We definitely have plenty of talent going forward.”