McCann Tech Boys' Comeback Bid Falls Short in Playoff Loss

By Stephen Sports
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- The McCann Tech boys soccer team Friday rallied from a three-goal second half deficit before taking a 4-3 loss to Hampden Charter in the first round of the Western Massachusetts Division 4 playoffs.
Michael Wojtaszek had a goal and an assist, and Joshua Favre scored a goal and drew a foul inside the 18 to earn a penalty kick during the comeback. But ninth-seeded Hampden's Isaac Chanthavongsa scored twice and assisted on a goal to help send his team on to the quarter-finals and a date with top-seeded Hopkins Academy.
McCann Tech (9-6-4), which won a 3-0 decision at Hampden Charter back in September, had a couple of chances early on Friday to draw first blood, but it was the visitors who scored first when Chanthavongsa took a ball out of the back from Tyriece Cherival and slipped a shot inside the far post in the 28th minute.
Ten minutes later, Chanthavongsa sent a cross into the box from high on the right wing, and Justin Rodriguez headed it home to give Hampden a 2-0 lead.
"We should have started the game like we finished it," McCann Tech coach Tom Bona said. "That's the bottom line. I don't know if they had the jitters. The first two goals were terrible, because of our mistakes. That's soccer, I guess.
"We did [have opportunities], right off the bat, the first few minutes, and then I don't know what happened."
McCann had a couple more strong chances at the start of the second half. First, an Omar Uqdah free kick from the left wing found Lukas Zelazo inside the 18-yard box, but his shot was saved in the 44th minute. Then, four minutes later, Brandon Vallone had a try off a Favre pass inside the 18, but that shot went wide.
Hampden Charter then extended its lead with a Chanthavongsa goal in the 50th minute, but McCann had an answer when Favre scored on a run up the middle that ended with him scoring with a defender draped around him to make it 3-1.
Four minutes later, Hampden Charter's Colby Ranck scored an insurance goal that would come in handy.
In the 65th minute Ryan Charon scored on a counter with an assist from Uqdah to make it 4-2.
Then, with 7 minutes, 27 seconds on the clock, Favre was tripped in the 18. Wojtaszek took the penalty try and buried it in the back of the net to make it a one-goal game.
McCann brought everyone but keeper Devon Griswold (three saves) forward in the closing minutes in a furious effort to get the equalizer, and the Hornets earned a corner kick with 17 seconds left for one last try.
But with a stiff wind coming out from behind the Hampden Charter goal, the restart went outside the top of the 18, and McCann was never able to get a shot at the net.
Bona said the field itself, which butts up against a steep hillside along the touchline where the corner originated, contributed to the misfire as much as the wind.
"It was just a bad kick," he said. "The problem is, if you go over there, it's on a hill. It's not a good spot. ... That's why I put a lefty out there to try to hook it in, and it was just a bad kick. But I figured it was worth a shot to stop the clock and get one more set play. It just didn't go our way.
"We didn't have the luck pretty much all year, so I guess it ended up pretty much that way, too."
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