CHESHIRE, Mass. — Neither team gained an advantage in the standings on Monday when the Hoosac Valley and Taconic high school girls soccer teams collided.
But it was clear who got the better end of the deal emotionally.
"For the team that comes from behind to tie it, it always feels like more of a victory for them and a loss for us," Hoosac coach Blair Mahar said after the visitors tied his Hurricanes, 2-2.
Taconic rallied from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 to earn the stalemate.
Another reason it may have felt like a win for Taconic — whose players cheered the final whistle: Last year it struggled to a 4-16 record while Hoosac went 11-5.
"We didn't play them last year because of a storm," Mahar said. "Now we know our competition for the South [Division]."
If Monday's game is any indication, it is going to be a defensive struggle for supremacy in the division.
True, the teams combined for four goals. But they only combined for 13 shots on goal. Hoosac had just three shots on goal in the second half.
"One of our strengths this year has been our defense," Taconic coach John Flynn said. "They've been strong all year, and they were especially strong in the second half.
"[Hoosac] brought it to us. They're a strong team, and we knew this, so our defense tightened up. It was interesting because we were done one or two fullbacks, so we put new people in. Our goalie stepped up and played a great game."
Brooke Mangiardi made four saves for Taconic. She also helped limit Hoosac's scoring chances by coming off her line to play the ball before an opportunity developed.
"She's a freshman, and we've thrown her into some big games — against Westfield, against [Pittsfield]," Flynn said. "We talked in practice about her being more aggressive, more confident and owning the area. I think this game is the one where she did it finally."
Hoosac (2-0-1) took a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute when Alexandria Rousseau fed Lily Kronick at the top of the penalty area, and Kronick converted.
Moments later, Taconic responded. Katherine Barry got behind the defense on a through ball and nearly had an open chance, but a Hoosac back caught her and managed to deflect her shot wide for a corner kick. On the ensuing set piece, Kristen Borelis had a shot on goal that Megan Richardson grabbed for one of her five saves.
The visitors broke through five minutes into the second half. After a breakdown in the penalty area left two Hoosac forwards unmarked in front of Richardson, Lisa Laughnane scored to make it 1-1.
Hoosac's Abby Chaput scored from 22 yards out off a restart to put the 'Canes ahead, 2-1, but Loughnane set up Angela Pannesco in the 75th minute with a cross from the right wing for the game's final goal.
Other than that one tally, the 'Canes generated little in the way of offense. Mahar was at a loss to explain why.
"In the secnod half, [Taconic] came out strong," he said "They came out strogn and began making nice runs, stringing passes together. We just couldn't match the first 10 or 15 minutes, and then we began to match.
"The last 10 or 15 minutes became just kicball. I think both teams were running out of energy. Both teams were losing those runs, the nice possession play. We kind of lost our quality scoring opportunities."
Mahar said he expects more tough games in the South Division this fall but he is confident.
"It's going to be a good season for the South this year," he said. "We'll see them again, and we'll beat 'em."
Hoosac hosts Pittsfield on Sept. 23. It travels to Taconic on Oct. 18.