Lenox Boys Roll into Sectional Semi-Finals
LENOX, Mass. -- The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association gave the Lenox boys soccer team about 49 hours to prepare for its Wednesday evening Western Mass Division 4 semi-final.
Michael Abdalla gave his team a little extra time to rest up.
Abdalla completed his hat trick in the first minute of the second half on Monday, giving the Millionaires a 5-0 lead and helping coach Matt Cote give his starters most of the second half off in a 7-0 win over Pioneer Valley Christian in the sectional quarter-finals.
“Being able to rest your starters in a quarter-final match is huge,” Cote said. “I mean, goodness gracious. Most teams don’t have that luxury. Tonight, we did.
“It’s really nice to be able to get the guys over to the bench. Put it this way, the kid who had a nagging injury, where you have to play him all 80 minutes, you could push him over the edge. Today, I didn’t have to do that.”
Cote was ready to clear his bench after Nick Monteleone scored in the 45th minute to make it 6-0, but the starters put one more goal across before the next stoppage when Ian Laurin set up Andre Collins for the game’s final goal.
After that, Lenox played an elaborate game of keepaway in its offensive half of the field, controlling the play and taking just a couple more shots to run its advantage to 16-2 in that department.
At the other end of the field, Jacob Munch made a couple of stops to complete a shutout victory he shared with starting keeper Matthew Tibbetts.
Laurin and Nic Baruch each had a goal and an assist in the win.
Laurin scored the game-winner in the third minute of the game, and Abdalla scored his first of the game four minutes later as the second-seeded Millionaires (11-5-3) showed no rust after enjoying a bye in the first round of the tournament.
After suffering a road shutout at Mount Greylock in its regular season finale, Lenox came into Monday’s tournament opener with an offensive mindset, Cote said.
“I don’t know if you saw our game here against Wahconah [a 4-0 Lenox win], but we had worked in practice for two days prior on finishing, finishing, finishing,” Cote said. “And we scored in 16 seconds.
“The last two days [before Monday], we worked on finishing, finishing, finishing. All we did yesterday for an hour and a half was work on finishing, and we scored in three minutes. Maybe I’m onto something.”
After making short work of seventh-seeded Pioneer Valley Christian, the Millionaires face No. 11 Pioneer Valley Regional (15-2-1) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Holyoke High School. Pioneer Monday upset No. 3 Mount Everett (9-3-3), 2-1, to reach the semi-finals.