WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Even in the back, Mount Greylock junior Ian Brink is an offensive weapon.
When he moved up front late in Monday's game against Monument Mountain, Brink gave the Mounties the punch they needed to earn a 1-1 tie.
"He seemed to be 'feeling it,' so to speak, and I just thought with his background, we needed a bigger body up there to start winning some head balls," Mount Greylock coach Blair Dils said of the decision to move up the 6-foot-3 Brink.
"The irony is he just ended up using his speed to get wide and center that perfect ball."
With 7 minutes, 15 seconds on the clock and the Spartans heading toward a season sweep of the Mounties, Brink broke down the right side and crossed to Sam Dils, who one-timed a shot past Monument goalkeeper Mark Marzotto for the equalizer.
"Because (Brink) has played there in the past, he's a versatile guy, and I know I can count on him to know what to do in the final third of the field," Dils said.
Brink started his sophomore season as a forward but Monday's game was the first time he has moved up this fall for the Mounties (8-3-3).
"I prefer defense, but at the end I got a little open space and took it across the line and dumped it off to Sammy," Brink said. "Nice little goal, good finish, an all around solid play."
Brink said it didn't take long to make the mental adjustment when Dils re-inserted him into the game as a forward with about nine minutes left.
"I'm a little rusty up there, but it wasn't too bad," he said. "It was new, but I've played it before."
The Mounties needed Brink in his more accustomed position in the back for most of the first half, when the Spartans kept the pressure on but could manage just one shot on Mount Greylock keeper Cal Filson.
Thanks largely to the long throw-ins and booming free kicks of Monument senior Bobby Kinne, the visitors had the Mounties pinned in their end of the field for much of the period.
But Mount Greylock regrouped during the break.
"It was basically just being mentally tough and lighting a fire under us," Brink said. "We had to pressure their defense more ... and we did that in the last 10 minutes."
In fact, Mount Greylock did that in the first 20 minutes of the second half -- earning three corner kicks and firing a couple of shots on Monument's Marzotto.
The Mounties' best chance to take the lead came in the 51st minute when Eric Hirsch took a long clear by Brink up the left side, beat a defender and fired a shot that rank off the crossbar. Five minutes later, Dils set up Benni McCommish with a cross from the left wing, but Marzotto stopped McCommish's shot.
In the 55th minute, moments after Mount Greylock's fourth corner of the contest, Monument's Cam Powell broke down the right side on a counter and fired a shot just inside the near post to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead.
"I said to the guys, 'That's soccer,' " Blair Dils said. "You hate to see it, though. We're trying to preach playing the full 80 minutes and not having those let downs. Every team has them. But Powell made a really nice move inside. I think he caught everybody on our team off guard when he cut to his left. We thought he was setting up for a move outside to his right.
"So you really have to tip your cap to him and the effort put forth on that goal. We know about Powell. We knew he's a dangerous player, and he proved it right there."
The Mounties nearly tied the game in the 70th minute when Grant Raphael set up McCommish about 35 yards form the goal, but the lanky Marzotto made a leaping save at the top of the cage to keep his team on top.
Finally, Dils connected for his team-leading 10th goal to give the Mounties the tie -- not the result they were hoping for in the holiday matinee, but better than the alternative and good enough to keep them unbeaten over a three-game stretch going to Thursday's rematch against Pittsfield.
"We lost 2-1 down there, and we really wanted to hold serve on our court, and we didn't do that," Dils said. "Honestly, we've just got to put this behind us and get focused for Pittsfield. I know it's a cliche, but we're not going to dwell about the loss of one point. We're going to try to get the two points on Thursday."