Mendel Leads Hoosac Valley Girls to Program's First Win over Mount Greylock

By Stephen Sports
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- What do you get for the girl who has accomplished almost everything in her athletic career on her birthday?
The Hoosac Valley girls lacrosse team Wednesday got Alie Mendel one of the few things that has eluded her: a 13-9 win over traditional Berkshire County power Mount Greylock.
Actually, think of it as a gift that you earn, because Mendel did with seven goals as the Hurricanes improved to 5-0 overall and 4-0 with wins against each of their league foes.
No. 4 was a milestone.
“It means a lot because this was our first time getting Mount Greylock in program history,” Mendel said. “We worked really hard today as a team.
“Hopefully, this triggers us to just keep on winning more games and make a huge postseason run.”
Mount Greylock (3-2) has made its share of playoff runs over the years, including last year’s run to the Central/Western Massachusetts Division 3 title game.
Mounties coach Lindsey von Holtz said Wednesday that she was disappointed to see her team fall but not shocked to see the Hurricanes get over the hump against Mount Greylock.
“It’s great for the county, and the sport because I love the sport,” von Holtz said of the improvement in the Hoosac Valley program. “Honestly, I’d like to be on the other side, but we knew. We’ve watched that group of seniors.”
Mendel’s senior classmates Brooke DiGennaro and Claudia Bresett each had hat tricks, and sophomore keeper Emily Godfrey stopped eight shots to earn the win between the pipes.
Hoosac Valley ran out to an early 3-1 lead, getting two transition goals from Mendel to erase a 1-0 deficit and a scoop and score from DiGennaro to make it a two-goal margin.
The Hurricanes maintained that spread most of the first half, going into the break up, 7-5.
Goals by Mendel and DiGennaro in the first three minutes of the second half pushed lead to four, but the Mounties pulled back to within 9-7 when Carolyn Jones scored on a free position with 18 minutes, 48 seconds to play.
But Mendel won the ensuing draw and raced down the field for the score, starting a 4-0 run that gave the Hurricanes a 13-7 lead with just less than 10 minutes on the clock.
Mendel was outstanding all day on draw controls, helping the Hurricanes to control the ball most of the afternoon.
“For most girls lacrosse teams, you win the draw, and you kind of have that momentum,” Hoosac Valley coach Molly Meczywor said. “We’ve got a great circle with Cairagan [Green], Faith [Hall], Brooke [DiGennaro] and Alie [Mendel]. They’re scrappers, and they’re strong.
“We work out two days a week in the weight room, and I think some of those little things carry on.”
In addition to those little things, the ‘Canes got some big saves from Godfrey, who stopped three Mount Greylock free position opportunities in the second half.
“Emily Godfrey came up huge, Holy Cow,” Meczywor said. “Emily has just kind of been that reflective player for this year, where she’s asking really good questions, ‘What can I do to get better?’ She’s staying after practice. And in a game like this, it shows.”
Mount Greylock broke through with a couple of goals from Clare Sheedy in the 46th minute, but after a Hoosac Valley timeout, Mendel won the game’s final draw and the Hurricanes were able to control the ball for the final four minutes to run out the clock.
Hoosac Valley goes to St. Mary’s on Thursday before finishing a busy week at Springfield Central on Friday.
Mount Greylock goes to Wahconah on Friday.
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