PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- For the second time in two games this season, the Monument Mountain boys showed their resilience.
On Saturday, the Spartans answered an equalizing goal with a game-winner.
On Tuesday under the lights at Berkshire Community College, it responded to its first deficit of the year to earn a 1-1 tie against Mount Greylock.
Both times, Lucien Firth was the goal-scorer, this time managing to knock the ball out of a scrum in front of the Mounties’ goal midway through the second half to give his team the point in the standings.
“That’s two games in a row that we responded within five or six minutes of giving up a goal,” Monument Mountain coach Matt Naventi said. “I really appreciate that. It’s a good sign early in our season to do that.
“And we’ve got a good film from the game. The guys are going to have some good learning opportunities from the goal we gave up, too. We didn’t track at all.”
The meeting of perennial Western Massachusetts Division 3 powers will be a good learning experience for both sides, even if the result feels a bit different for the one who held a lead only to see it slip away.
“Monument Mountain is a good, strong opponent,” Mount Greylock coach Blair Dils said. “We’re very evenly matched, as you can see. It sort of felt like it was the right result at the end of the day.
“In the first half, it felt like they had possession in our half but didn’t get a lot of good scoring opportunities. We countered and had a couple of good scoring opportunities in the first.”
Much of the game was contested in the midfield with neither side’s back line yielding many entries into the final third.
Mount Greylock did have a couple of dangerous chances in the first half. The first came in the 29th minute when Diego Galvez took a try off a pass from Cedric LeMaire, but Monument Mountain’s Eddie Boyko was able to tip Galvez’ shot over the crossbar.
With just more than four minutes left in the half, Mount Greylock’s Leo Rossiter made a run up the right wing and got a shot off that Boyko was able to deny and keep it a 0-0 game going into the break.
In the 39th minute, Mount Greylock finally broke through.
Julius Munemo sent a through ball from midfield down the left side for Rossiter, who crossed it to John Skavlem in the middle of the 18. Skavlem’s one-timer went past a diving Boyko and into the back of the net.
On a night when chances were hard to come by, it felt like that might be enough. But Firth had other ideas.
Seven minutes later, Avery Manzolini stole the ball about 35 yards from Mount Greylock’s goal and dribbled through the defense before finding Firth inside the 18. Firth received the ball with his back to the goal in traffic, popped the ball over his head, turned and scored the tying goal.
“I didn’t love how we responded after we scored,” Dils said. “[Monument Mountain] brought the intensity up, and we kind of seemed to rest a little bit on our laurels. And I’m not surprised they got the equalizer.”
Mount Greylock finished the game on the attack, getting a try with about 40 seconds left from about 35 yards out from Munemo, but his shot went wide of the goal.
Although Naventi will look forward to breaking down the film on the one goal his team allowed, he was pleased overall with its performance against the 2019 sectional finalist Mounties.
“I was really happy with the amount we were able to possess the ball tonight,” he said. “The occasions when we were more direct and over the top was an advantage to them, that style of play. If we can possess like that against Greylock, we should be able to do it against just about anyone in the county. That’s also a good sign, too.
“Our final third work today was lacking against a better team. We just don’t have the assertiveness yet. But Lucien [Firth] gets his one or two chances, and he’s golden for us. He took advantage of an opportunity and another great finish to get us back level.”