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Pittsfield, Monument Mountain Boys Battle to a Draw

By Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires Sports - Print

07:34PM / Thursday, April 22, 2021


PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Pittsfield senior Luke Peplowski converted a penalty kick late in the second half to give the Generals a 1-1 tie with Monument Mountain on Thursday at Kirvin Park.
 
The Spartans (6-0-2) had taken a lead midway through the first half on a goal by Nicky Huertas.
 
But with 11 minutes, 28 seconds to play, Pittsfield's Daniel Kankam was fouled just outside the 6 going for a cross from the right wing, earning the Generals a PK.
 
Peplowski fired a shot inside the post on the right wing side to tie the match, and neither defense relented the rest of the way.
 
Pittsfield keeper Will Kinne and Monument Mountain's Luke Arienti each finished with seven saves.
 
"We ended strong," Pittsfield coach Andrew Antil said. "We're thin on the bench today. We've got a few injuries -- more than a few guys not 100 percent. So we were looking tired.
 
"They hung together. It was scrappy, it was ugly."
 
And it was also a challenge for the Monument Mountain, which had to plug some holes.
 
"The only thing that killed us in the second half was one of our kids had to leave to get his COVID shot," Spartans coach Matt Naventi said. "And he's one of our better defenders, so we needed to play around with our strategy a little bit. And Lucien [Firth], who has been so good for us had a migraine, so he didn't play at all in the second half.
 
"The younger guys did all right. The game opened up on us. It's such a big field, you could tell both teams were getting fatigued. The middle was kind of a free for all."
 
Both teams had chances in the first half to get the game's first goal.
 
In the first minute, a Pittsfield giveaway in its defensive third led to a point-blank shot that Kinne turned aside.
 
In the fifth and sixth minute, the Generals earned direct free kicks from about 20 yards out on the left wing. Peplowski's tries each time just missed the mark, going first wide to the far side and then just over the crossbar.
 
Moments after the second miss, Pittsfield's Eliot Stern played a ball off a Spartan defender about 8 yards in front of Arienti, but Arienti went low to make the save.
 
Just after the teams took their mid-half mask break, Pittsfield's Angel Sandoval made a defensive save after Kinne was caught way off his line going for a ball that snuck past for a golden Monument opportunity.
 
But just after that, Monument Mountain's Quinn Redpath entered the ball from the left wing for Huertas at the top of the 18. Huertas turned and fired a shot into the far side of the net to put his team up, 1-0.
 
Early in the second half, Arienti denied Freddy Alejandro Lopez on a volley in the middle of the 18 off a cross from the left wing. Then he went up to tip a Peplowski free kick from 25 yards over the crossbar for a corner kick.
 
Midway through the second half, Monument's Brayan Huertas got behind the defense to run on a through ball up the middle, but Kinne raced out beyond the 18 to play the ball away with his feet.
 
After Peplowski's PK, the best chance for either team came from Nicky Huertas from about 25 yards out on a feed from Justin Hawkins, but Kinne lunged to his left to keep the ball out of the net.
 
Though neither team was thrilled with the result, each knows they're headed to the county playoffs next week where they very well could see one another again.
 
"I'm not disappointed with the point," Naventi said. "We didn't deserve to come away with more in some respects. We had three or four golden opportunities. We had one 30 seconds into the game. We should have capitalized on them, and we didn't. That's the way it goes sometimes.
 
"Pittsfield played well. It was a good Northern Division battle for sure."
 
Antil agreed.
 
"They played hard, like we knew they would," Antil said. "Monument's always big and physical and fast. We were reslilient. We have a lot of new guys on varsity this year, and they're kind of learning on the fly. They came up big, and it's good experience for them."
 
Pittsfield (4-1-1) wraps up the regular season on Saturday morning at Kirvin Park against Taconic.
 

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