PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The first time the Mount Greylock girls soccer team played Pittsfield this season, it was not even close.
On Friday afternoon, the Mounties came agonizingly close to escaping Kirvin Park with a tie.
Kelsey Orpin made a strong run through the box and had a try for an equalizer that went just wide with 15 seconds left, and Pittsfield prevailed 1-0 to earn the season sweep.
Earlier this season, the Generals beat Mount Greylock, 4-0, in Williamstown. And although Pittsfield carried the play by a wide margin again on Friday, the Mounties defense — especially goalkeeper Charlotte Rand — kept it close enough to set the stage for some late game drama.
"I would say that was Charlotte's best game," Mount Greylock coach Tom Ostheimer said of the sophomore keeper. "She made a lot of big saves and a ton of second half saves."
Rand finished with 16 saves, including 12 after half-time. But Pittsfield's Trinity Cookis converted a rebound to finish one of the Generals’ seven corner kicks and break a scoreless tie midway through the second half.
"If we'd been able to clear that corner kick, we might be looking at a scoreless tie," Ostheimer said after the Mounties fell to 8-3-1.
"What has been our nemesis all year is corner kicks. And they got it in the end. We gave up another one. That's been a real problem. Last year, it was a strength, our corner kick 'D."
"This year, we've got to work on that, and we know that."
Pittsfield’s best chance to take the lead in the first half came — not surprisingly — on a corner. But Kara Alfonsi’s try in the box hit the post with about three minutes left in the half.
As time expired in the period, Sarah Stripp and Lucy Barrett combined to break up a dangerous chance on the right wing side of the 18 without allowing a shot on goal.
But it was clear at the break that the Mounties had an uphill climb ahead of them. Pittsfield went to half-time with a 4-0 edge in shots on goals, a 3-1 edge in corners and about 35 minutes of possession time in the attacking end.
That said, Ostheimer was pleased with the way his team adjusted from the Oct. 3 match to keep the Generals off the board.
"We knew a bit more about the challenges that they presented in terms of their defense making runs, their stopper [Meghan Driscoll] pulling up," Ostheimer said. "I thought we contained them a little bit better. Obviously, they carried the better of play. But we contained them on the outside.
"They didn’t get a lot of real good shots. They kept the pressure on us."
Pittsfield turned up the heat after half-time.
In the 51st minute, Miranda Voller blocked a shot inside the 18, and then denied a Pittsfield attacker on the rebound. Seconds later, Pittsfield’s Amanda Wright had an open look inside the 18 that she chipped just over the crossbar.
About five minutes later, the Generals' Alfonsi launched a free kick from 22 yards that hit the bottom of the crossbar and came down inside the 6-yard box. Again, a Mount Greylock defender blocked a rebound try — this time by Cookis.
Finally, Cookis spoiled Rand’s shutout bid with a goal in the 62nd minute.
Mount Greylock earned its three best chances to score in the final 15 minutes.
First, off a quick restart at midfield, Caroline Flynn took a through ball and made a run down the right wing to fire the first shot of the game at Pittsfield keeper Allie Hunt (two saves).
In the final minute, Miranda Bucky had a shot on goal on a counter. And 30 seconds later, Sophie Leamon sent Orpin up the right side, and Orpin raced in and took the only shot she had around Hunt, but the ball curled just wide of the far post.
Mount Greylock is home on Tuesday evening to face Lee on John T. Allen Field.