By Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires Sports -
06:40PM / Friday, November 09, 2012
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. — At the halftime of each of Friday's Western Massachusetts Division 2 soccer semifinals, Belchertown led Mount Greylock, 2-0.
||The Mount Greylock girls team, taking to the field before the boys at Friday's doubleheader, failed to hold off Belchertown, losing 6-0. See more pictures here.
From that point on, each game took a decidedly different direction. But each had the same destination: the Orioles moved on while the Mounties were left to find consolation in a successful season that ended at least one game too soon.
Belchertown's girls opened the two-school, two-gender double-header with a dominating 6-0 win at Northampton High School. In the nightcap, the Belchertown boys stymied enough Mount Greylock chances to hang on for a 3-1 win.
"That's a really good team we played tonight, no question about that," Mount Greylock boys coach Blair Dils said.
"We fought. There's no question we fought. The boys have nothing to be ashamed of in terms of the determination they showed tonight."
Likewise the Mount Greylock girls (11-4-3) fought hard against the top-seeded Orioles (18-0-2), but from the get-go it was an uphill climb for the Mounties, who were outshot by a margin of 33-1.
From the opening minute of the game, the only thing Mount Greylock fans had to cheer was the stellar performance of its defense, anchored by senior goalkeeper Margot Besnard.
By the end of the night, even the Belchertown fans were giving Besnard some appreciation.
"I think that by far she is the best [goalkeeper] in Berkshire County and probably the best in Western Mass," Mount Greylock senior back Alexa Adams said. "I haven't experienced the Belchertown keeper or the Athol keeper, for example, but I know that Margot is really something special, and you don't come across a keeper who is that talented very often.
"I think their girls were incredibly impressed with some of the saves she made. The ref went up to her and congratulated her after a couple of her saves. ... I think for our fans, they'll say, 'Yeah, Margot, that was an amazing save,' but we're used to it. When we're playing teams we don't know as well, they're amazed by her because of her talent."
Although Belchertown spent most of the night on the Mounties' side of the field, the eventual game-winner came, ironically, on a counter of one of Mount Greylock's few forays into the Orioles' end.
In the 31st minute of the game, Belchertown turned that counterattack into a corner kick on the right wing. The Orioles played the ball over the top and then entered the ball from the left wing. Natalie Caney finished for her 19th goal of the season to make it 1-0. About two minutes later, Brittany Moreau gave her team some insurance it hardly needed.
"For 31 minutes, we kept them off the board, and that was our hope — to try to keep it 0-0 as long as we could and maybe get a fast-break goal," Mounties coach Tom Ostheimer said.
Instead, Belchertown turned up the pressure in the second half, taking 18 shots in the final 40 mintues. The Mounties got their only shot on goal in the 44th minute when Sophie Leamon took advantage of a misplay in the Orioles' backfield and got the ball into the penalty area for a shot on Sarah LeClair, who made the save to keep Belchertown opponents scoreless in the post-season.
The Orioles will put that streak on the line Sunday at Westfield State against Monson, a 2-0 winner over Southwick on Friday night.
||The Mount Greylock boys soccer team was shutout of the Western Mass finals 3-1 by Belchertown on Friday night. The game ended the season for the Mounties.
The Belchertown boys (20-0) will square off Sunday afternoon against Monument Mountain (16-2-2), a 1-0 winner over South Hadley in the semis.
The Orioles got goals from three different players in Friday's win over Mount Greylock (16-4-1).
The first two — coming just 24 seconds apart around the seven-minute mark — proved to be decisive.
"When they go out and score two in the first 10, it really kind of throws you out of whack," Dils said. "That obviously was not an ideal scenario, to get down early."
The quick start allowed Belchertown to blanket Mount Greylock 30-goal scorer Nathan Majumder with two and sometimes three defenders the rest of the night.
"Once they got the two [goals], they figured if they could hold him to the one, which they did, then they had the game," Dils said.
That one goal came on a penalty kick after Majumder was hauled down at the top of the area in the 48th minute. He went low to the right of goalkeeper Zachary Parsons (three saves) to cut Belchertown's lead in half.
Majumder nearly brought the Mounties level nine minutes later when he was awarded a free kick 27 yards from the goal. His drive deflected through the wall and forced Parsons to make a scrambling save on the post to preserve the lead.
Belchertown stretched the lead back to two 10 minutes later on a set piece. Nathaniel Fournier headed Alex DeSantis' corner kick past Mounties keeper Sean Houston (eight saves) to provide the final margin of victory.