Greene's Goal Lifts Hoosac Valley Girls at Lenox
LENOX, Mass. -- Cairagan Greene had a little bit of space and a whole lot of power, and the Hoosac Valley girls soccer team Wednesday took a big step toward clinching a Western Massachusetts Division 3 tournament spot.
Fifty-seven minutes into a scoreless tie at Lenox, the ball popped out to the Hoosac Valley senior about 40 yards from goal, and she wasted no time pounding a shot that curled over the outstretched arms of keeper Julia Haddad.
Gabby Billetz made some big stops down the stretch, and the Hurricanes went home with a 1-0 victory.
“At our Taconic game, I made one from about 40 yards out,” Greene said. “At that point, I had no one to pass to, and I figured I’m just gonna give it my best.”
It is not a shot that she has been developing in practice Greene said.
“Not really,” she said. “I just kind of one day did at Taconic. I whammed it. It went right over the keeper’s head and in. I was just hoping for it.”
The Hurricanes (5-3-5) were just hoping for a positive result in a season full of stalemates.
“It’s been really frustrating,” Greene said. “It means a lot because we have the five ties, and we need three more points to make the tournament now. We really needed this one not to have to get five more with five games left, so we needed it, especially to get out of that tie groove.”
Hoosac Valley coach Kathy Budaj was happy to see Greene wind up from distance.
“She absolutely should take that shot,” Budaj said. “She’s been told: Take that shot.”
Hoosac Valley has been held to one goal or fewer in six of their 13 games this fall, and it appeared headed to its fourth shutout before Greene’s strike,
“Not for lack of effort,” Budaj said. “Lenox’s defense stood tall. We had too many opportunities, and we have to start converting them. I keep telling the girls: We’ve got a lot of ties, and ties don’t win games. You have to put the ball in the net to win the game.”
Lenox’s defense and Haddad (10 saves) made that a challenge all night.
“The girl’s got a good foot, and I think she was also helped by the fact that the ball was rolling back toward her, and she got a little oomph,” Lenox coach Kyle Zinchuk said of Greene’s game-winner. “It’s kind of like a baseball player, when he gets a 100 mph pitch, sometimes it leaves the bat a little harder.
“[Haddad] wasn’t even out of position. You saw her all night come out on through balls all night. She was in a good spot. I think just with her experience she didn’t react immediately to that big ball up to know, ‘I’ve gotta sprint back for it.’ But there wasn’t much she could do about that. She played a great game tonight.”
Haddad made four saves in the first half as Hoosac Valley dominated possession, doing everything but light up the scoreboard. Perhaps the Canes’ best chance came in the 30th minute on a shot that rang off the post to keep the match scoreless.
Lenox came out of half-time and earned its first corner kick chance in the 42nd minute, setting the tone for what ended up being a more even period.
In the 51st minute, the Millionaires had a corner kick try that resulted in a frantic five seconds in the goal box before a Lenox shot went just wide of the goal.
And the best scoring chance for either team after Greene’s goal came in the final two minutes when Lenox earned a free kick at midfield, and the service caromed off a defender to a Millionaire at the top of the 18. She got off an on-target shot, but Billetz (fives saves) snatched it out of the air to preserve the shutout.
Lenox (7-7-1) is in good shape to make a run at the postseason, and, despite losing to Wahconah and Hoosac Valley on consecutive nights, Zinchuk said back-to-back contests against Berkshire County North Division teams will help his team down the road.
“Two very physical games, which is great tournament prep for us,” Zinchuk said. “I would say after tonight, I would definitely say we’re happy to have a day tomorrow to rest some things.
“We lost to Wahconah, 4-0, but even that game didn’t feel like a 4-0 game. We played really a really great game there that night, and we played a good game here tonight, too. So I think that, for them, it’s just making sure they realize that despite the last couple of games not going in our favor, we’re still building and we’re playing good soccer now, which is great to see.”
Lenox goes to Lee on Friday.
Hoosac Valley goes to Mount Greylock on Friday.