WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- In the 76th minute with her team ahead by two goals, Mount Greylock junior Hannah Gilooly stopped a Monument Mountain attacker one-on-one inside the 18 to take away a prime scoring chance and preserve a 3-1 win for the Mounties.
It was highlight-reel type play for a defender but just one of many big stops for Mount Greylock, which improved to 3-1.
“I think it was our best defensive game,” Mount Greylock coach Tom Ostheimer said. “From [keeper] Delaney Babcock, Mackenzie [Sheehy], Ciera Schwarzer, Zoe Armet in the middle, Hannah Gilooly, Talia [Cappadona]. I thought Emma Stevens did an amazing job cleaning up messes in the corner.
“Last week, they played well, individually. Today, they played well as a team. I think a lot of that is the good communication. They’re gaining confidence. There are some new faces back there, but they’re starting to jell.”
Most of the offense in this one came in a span of less than five minutes midway through the first half that started with the game tied 0-0 and ended with Mount Greylock up, 2-1.
First, the Mounties had to withstand some early pressure from the Spartans (1-2)
“Early on, they controlled play, and they obviously had one off the crossbar,” Ostheimer said. “It looked like it was going to be an onslaught. That lasted about 10 or 15 minutes, and then we turned it around.”
In the 14th minute, Clara McWeeny played a looping ball into the 18 that Monument keeper Helen Pajeski (three saves) came off her line to play on the bounce. At the last moment, Mount Greylock’s Madison Ross flashed in front of Pajeski, played the ball with her head down to her feet and put it in the back of the net.
“Clara and Maddie, you know, they’re quite a combination up there,” Ostheimer said. “They work well together.”
McWeeney went on to score two goals, and Ross had an assist to account for the Mounties’ offense.
The first McWeeney goal came 3 minutes, 36 seconds after Ross scored. Ross won a 50/50 ball just outside the 18 and fed a through ball to McWeeney, who finished to make it 2-0.
The Spartans had an answer just more than a minute later when they cashed in on one of their five first-half corner kicks.
Elee Hull intercepted Mount Greylock’s try to clear the area and fired a shot from about 15 yards that got past Babcock (four saves) to cut the lead in half.
If the Spartans felt a little unlucky on the first Mount Greylock goal, the last was even tougher to take. With less than two minutes left in the first half, a Monument defender headed the ball into the head of a nearby teammate, sending the ball to the ground, where McWeeny alertly gained control and scored an unassisted goal to make it a 3-1 game.
“It’s tough giving up a goal, but I think we just keep our collective purpose in mind to just play good soccer and see what comes from that,” Monument Mountain coach Jess Platt said. “We try not to look at the scoreboard too much. But it’s good to practice how to keep morale up in down-goal situations. This was a good opportunity for us to grow, and we took a lot away from that.
“Mount Greylock is always a great competitor. We like coming up here. It’s a tough matchup. We’re growing as a team; it’s only our third game of the season. The things we asked the girls to do today, they performed.”
Monument Mountain hosts Hoosac Valley on Tuesday.
Mount Greylock hosts Lenox (4-0) on Friday night.