Lenox Boys Down McCann in OT
But coach Tom Bona was not about to let that happen.
Instead, he did his best to keep the Hornets humble over the last two months.
But after Monday's heart-breaking 2-1 overtime loss to Lenox in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 quarter-finals, it was
time to tell the truth.
"These guys, all year, they never gave up," Bona said. "We've been down before. We were down against Commerce and came back. We were down Keefe Tech [in the state voc tournament] and came back.
"I'm proud of these guys, and I told them that just now. It's really the first time I told them. I didn't want them to get swelled heads."
Even though McCann's season ends with a pair of losses — to Keefe in the vocational school tournament and Lenox in the state sectional — the season will be remembered for the other 18 games.
"They did things this program has never done before," Bona said of his squad, which finished 15-2-3. "They went undefeated."
And they did not get down when the Millionaires (6-11-3) broke a scoreless tie midway through the second half.
Instead, McCann clawed its way back into the game and got the equalizer in the 63rd minute when Shane Fuller took the ball from the left wing into the 18-yard area and scored his 36th goal of the season to make it 1-1.
It stayed that way through the rest of regulation, but Lenox had the only two strong chances of overtime.
The first ended in a diving save by McCann goalkeeper Chris Gajda in the third minute of OT. Less than a minute later, Nico Ciolfi scored his second goal of the game on an assist from Isaac Gotterer to end McCann's season.
Fuller and Gajda are two on a long list of McCann players who will be back next season to make another run at Western Mass. But for five McCann seniors, Monday was the end of the line.
"I didn't really know what I was getting," said Bona, who took over the McCann program this summer. "I definitely got some good seniors. I was lucky to get some leaders, and they all played their role really well. The senior class, they set the example for everybody. They did a great job at it.
"I couldn't ask for any better from my captains and my seniors."