GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. -- The Monument Mountain boys soccer team went into Saturday’s Western Massachusetts Division 3 playoff opener with just one point in its last three games and four goals in its last four.
The Spartans reversed that trend in a big way.
Robert Baldwin scored two goals and assisted on a third to lead Monument Mountain to a 3-0 win over Hampshire.
“We tried a new formation today that we haven’t done before in my three years on the team, and it just opened up space against this particular team,” Baldwin said. “It was a good way to get out of a rough patch of games.
“We had lost against Pope Francis and Pittsfield using our regular formation, and then we switched just because this was a team we hadn’t seen before and we had a lot of good information on them and felt this was the best formation to deal with it.”
Monument coach Matt Naventi said the information Hampshire (7-12) had on the Spartans was also a factor.
“We know we’ve been scouted, and we know we’ve had a lot of teams come look at us over the last week, so we changed a couple of things up offensively to give teams a different look,” Naventi said. “I think it was effective today. It certainly paid off.
“And a couple of guys who have been struggling with injury, we’ve given them time to rest since our Pittsfield game. We almost conceded a couple of the last games of the season because we knew that if we won one of those games, we’d end up with a five seed. We’re much happier where we are with a six or a seven.”
Sixth-seeded Monument Mountain (8-6-3) moves on to Tuesday’s sectional quarter-final at No. 3 Frontier (11-2-4), who received a bye through the first round of the 12-team D3 bracket.
The Spartans got on the board Saturday in the 23rd minute when Patrick Yeung sent a cross from the right wing into the 18-yard area, where Baldwin headed it into the net for a 1-0 lead that stood through half-time.
Monument had a couple of prime opportunities in the opening minutes of the second half, including a Baldwin free kick from deep on the left wing that found the foot of a Spartan defender but just went wide of the near post.
Finally, the Spartans broke through in the 64th minute when Baldwin fed Nate Lacombe to make it 2-0.
Nine minutes later, Monument scored on a play that started with Costa Kami’s throw-in from the left side. Ben Badurski headed it to Baldwin, who finished for his second of the game.
Kevin Kelly made four saves to earn the shutout in goal for the Spartans, who outshot the visitors by a margin of 9-4.