Austin Prep Girls Top Hoosac Valley
CHESHIRE, Mass. -- Monday was a holiday from the classroom, but a good day for the Hoosac Valley girls soccer team to learn some lessons.
Its teacher: Austin Prep, a team that came west with a 12-2 record and a resume that includes appearances in the North Sectional semi-finals the last two seasons.
Hurricanes coach Kathy Budaj knew her team would be severely tested in the inter-sectional matchup, and Austin Prep was as good as advertised, jumping back on the bus for the long ride home with a 5-1 victory.
“We played well for 10 minutes of the first half,” Budaj said, referring to the sequence when Hoosac trimmed a two-goal deficit in half. “Other than that, they owned the game. They were significantly better than us. … They’ve scored 40-something goals.
“It was a learning experience for us. This is a team you’re going to see in the playoffs, no doubt about it. They’re at the top of their conference, and they should be.”
Dani Rich got the scoring started in the 13th minute when she made a run down the left wing and scored from a tough angle.
With 8 minutes, 28 seconds on the clock, Mia Han upped the visitors’ lead to 2-0.
But with about three minutes left until half-time, the Hurricanes earned one of just two corner kicks they generated on the afternoon. The restart went into the box, where Austin Prep attempted to clear, but Ashlee Meczywor got possession at the top of the arc and pounded home a shot to make it 2-1.
Besides the goal, the other positive from the first half was the way Hoosac Valley’s defense surrendered just two goals and three shots on goal against the high-powered Cougars offense.
“For the most part, I’m very happy with how our defense is playing,” Budaj said. “Our keeper came out a bunch of times, Kelsey [Bulson]. Yeah, she gave up some goals, but she made some nice saves coming out.
“And there were moments when we did have some nice [offensive] opportunities, but we need to capitalize on our opportunities.”
The back-breaker came early in the second half, when Austin Prep scored two goals less than a minute apart. The first came when Catherine Gallagher caught Bulson [six saves] off her line attempting to play a cross into the box. The second, in the 52nd minute, was set up by Rich, who finished with a goal and two assists.
Hoosac Valley (2-5-1) goes to Drury on Wednesday afternoon.