Wahconah Girls Post Convincing Win in Tourney Opener
DALTON, Mass. -- A lot of work went into Saturday’s win for the Wahconah girls soccer team … even before the hosts made short work of visiting Pioneer Valley.
Chloe Accardi scored the game-winner in the ninth minute, and Wahconah outshot Pioneer Valley by a margin of 32-1 en route to a 3-0 win and a date Monday against Hoosac Valley in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 quarter-finals.
But before the deluge of shots, there were several days of rain that left the varsity field in no condition to host a game when Wahconah coach Meghan Smith showed up on Saturday morning.
“We did a walk-through at 9:30,” Smith said. “We started sweeping water off at 10. We left at 12. We were back up here at 2. And the water was off at 4.”
The original 5 p.m. start was pushed back until 5:30, and except for occasional slip, the field conditions never appeared to play much of a role in the game.
It took a team effort to make sure Smith’s team did not face the prospect of rescheduling to Sunday and a potential back-to-back games in the first round and quarters.
“A bunch of dads,” Smith said. “We said, ‘Who is going to solve this problem? Dads. So there were probably 10 dads and [assistant coach Taylor Kenyon] and I were out here. And they hustled.
“This field would not have been ready if it wasn’t for those 10 dads.”
Their daughters also came out ready to go, firing 10 shots on goal in the first nine minutes of the game. But Pioneer Valley’s Leah Fuess was equal to the task, turning aside everything she faced in the early moments.
Finally, with 30 minutes, 8 seconds on the clock, Accardi struck from just outside the 18 with a shot that curled just under the crossbar to make it 1-0.
Fuess proceeded to turn aside the next nine shots she faced to keep it a one-goal game going to half-time.
“That goalie was good,” Smith said. “Her hands were on fire. We just kept knocking, but she just kept catching them.”
In the 48th minute, Jilly Cote took a corner kick on the right wing that went into the 6, glanced off the head of Victoria Gamberoni and found the feet Cat Boino on the left side. Boino finished give Wahconah (12-3-2) a little breathing room.
The breathing got a lot easier less than two minutes later when Gamberoni set up Alison Washburn with a cross from the right wing and Washburn beat a diving Fuess to make it 3-0.
Fifteenth-seeded Pioneer Valley (6-7-4) got its first shot on goal, a looping try from outside the 18, in the 68th minute, and Michaella Moncecchi made the stop to preserve Wahconah’s third straight shutout win.
That streak started back on Oct. 25, second-seeded Wahconah’s second 1-0 win over Hoosac Valley this fall.
“This is the game that counts,” Smith said. “We just have to keep playing our game and move the ball, shoot the ball, keep hustling forward.”