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Henderson Scores Four as Spartans Come Back for Tourney Win

By Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires Sports - Print

08:14PM / Wednesday, November 08, 2023


GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. – After being held scoreless in the first half on Wednesday night, the Monument Mountain boys soccer team exploded for seven goals in 28 minutes to earn a 7-4 win over Rockland in the Division 4 State Tournament.
 
The seventh-seeded Spartans advanced to the state quarter-finals, where they will travel to face second-seeded Lynnfield, a 2-0 winner over Abington on Wednesday evening.
 
Erving Henderson scored four goals and assisted on another as Monument Mountain (12-4-3) won for the fifth time in its last six games.
 
To do so, it overcame a 2-0 half-time deficit and a 3-1 deficit in the 50th minute of play.
 
“Being down 2-0 is very hard,” Henderson said. “We talked about the fact that, obviously, we needed to come back and score a couple of goals. That kind of helped us score.”
 
Henderson got the first Spartan goal in the seventh minute of the second half when he ended up on the other end of a Sean Scarbro free kick from about 30 yards and finished to make it 2-1.
 
The 10th-seeded Bulldogs answered right away, earning a penalty kick off a counter opportunity in the 50th minute. Joao Faria converted the PK for his third goal of the match to re-establish the two-goal margin.
 
It was the kind of response that often shuts down an opponent’s comeback bid.
 
But the Spartans were undeterred.
 
“At that point, I knew,” Henderson said. “Once we scored one, I knew we could score more. Honestly, it helped us to score that one. And that little setback [Rockland’s third goal] was fine because of the potential we had of scoring.”
 
Monument Mountain coach Matt Naventi echoed his star forward’s confidence.
 
“We knew we were going to get looks through the second half,” Naventi said. “We created a few solid chances in the first half, we knew we just needed to maximize our opportunities better than we did in the first half.
 
“To get the game to 2-1 was important for us. Unfortunately, to concede the penalty puts us back in the same hole. But as soon as Sean [Scarbro] came up, I think that really was – to make that tactical shift – really changed the momentum of the game. … So it’s good to have that in our back pocket, and if we need to use it moving forward, we’ll use it.”
 
The Spartans got the goal back fewer than two minutes later off another set piece.
 
This time, Henderson started the play with a corner kick from the right wing. Hudson Manzolini got a head on it at the top of the 6 and directed it to the left side, where Mason Whiteman was making a run. Whiteman’s one touch finish snuck past the keeper and inside the far post to make it 3-2, Rockland.
 
Just two minutes later, Monument Mountain’s Sam Higa was taken down from behind on the right side of the 18, and the Spartans were awarded a PK.
 
Henderson converted to tie the game, 3-3, with 26 minutes, 17 seconds left on the clock.
 
Just two minutes later, Henderson chipped a shot from just inside the 18 over the keeper and under the crossbar for Monument Mountain’s first non-set piece goal to give the Spartans their first lead at 4-3.
 
“It was a great ball from Sean [Scarbro],” Henderson said. “No defenders on me, and I just knew I had to place it over the keeper. Easy goal.”
 
There was a little bit of a lull – three whole minutes – before the Spartans scored their next goal. Again, it was Henderson, this time making a run into the 18 from the left wing beating one defender and firing a shot over the outstretched hands of the keeper and into the net to give Monument Mountain a two-goal margin.
 
In the 69th minute, Henderson set up Manzolini for a goal to give the Spartans some more breathing room. With 5:45 left to play, Henderson received a pass from Lorenzo Gonzalez in the 18 and was tripped, generating Monument Mountain’s second penalty kick of the night. Mac Zdziarski did the honors this time, giving his team an insurmountable 7-3 lead.
 
Rockland’s Faria scored his fourth goal in the waning minutes to provide the final margin.
 
On a night when Monument Mountain’s high-powered offense upped its average to 2.7 goals per game, the four goals it allowed were a concern for Naventi, but he was philosophical about them.
 
“Unfortunately, we just had a bad hop on the first one,” he said. “Marko [Konenenko, 11 saves], that’s a ball he saves all the time. It just caught the grass the right way, and with the field conditions the way they are, it got over him.
 
“And we had totally just checked out at the end, unfortunately. We knew there were 30 seconds left. … We knew [Faria] is an excellent player.”
 
But the story of the night was Monument Mountain’s excellent offense.
 
“If you told me, 2-0 at half, that we’d win 7-4, I’d say you were out of your minds,” Naventi said. “To get that much offensive production through a half is incredible.”
 

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