WILBRAHAM, Mass. – The Mount Greylock boy soccer team did not give much in the way of scoring opportunities in Wednesday's Western Massachusetts Class C Championship Game.
But Frontier cashed in on the only one it needed.
Brady Burch scored midway through the first half to send the Redhawks on to a 1-0 win over the Mounties on Minnechaug’s Falcon Field.
Burch was played forward by Chanhee Son with a through ball up the right wing from the middle of the field after an aggressive play by a Mount Greylock defender ended in a fortunate bounce for Frontier.
“We had a pretty good opportunity for a tackle there at midfield, and 99 out of 100 times, Josh [Rudin] makes that play,” Mount Greylock coach Blair Dils said. “I just think we got unlucky. The ball sort of hit off a heel and bounced up, and that kid was able to go off to the races.
“[Burch] did a nice job of peeling out to an open space Josh had left, and he did a nice job on the finish. … It really came down to that one play, but that’s playoff soccer.”
Quality scoring chances were hard to come by for both teams, who combined for 10 shots on goal.
Mount Greylock (7-6-5) had the better of play for much of the second half but was rarely able to turn its possession time in Frontier’s half of the play into a clean look at the goal.
Perhaps the best chance for the equalizer came midway through the second half when eighth-grader Everett Bayliss played a ball inside the 18 from Quinn McDermott, but Frontier keeper Owen Babb (five saves) was able to make the stop.
In the 94th minute, the Mounties had a direct free kick about 30 yards from goal that was on target, but Babb tipped it over the crossbar for a corner kick.
“There was a little more urgency, they looked a little more on their heels, maybe, to protect that lead,” Dils said of the second half. “So we were able to get forward and get some better scoring opportunities, put ourselves in dangerous spots.
“We just couldn’t quite get the final bounce in the 18. I thought we did a good job of maintaining possession, dealing with their counter attack. It’s something we’re going to go back and focus on in training. And if we get in that situation again, we’ll be able to finish one.”
The good news for Mount Greylock is that its season is far from finished.
The Mounties learned earlier Wednesday that they are the No. 8 seed in this Division 5 State Championship tournament, and that means they will be home on Sunday afternoon to face either Blue Hills or Minuteman Regional, who meet in a preliminary round game on Friday in Canton.
“This is the highest stakes game with the lowest consequence, right?” Dils said of the regional championship, which, by design, does not factor into the state rankings for playoff seeding purposes. “We’re not diminishing the opportunity to have a Western Mass title, but there’s very little consequence. So we’re gonna get back to training, and we’re gonna focus on Blue Hills or Minuteman Regional for our game on Sunday or Monday.”