Mount Greylock Boys Top Pittsfield, Win Berkshire North
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- For the Mount Greylock boys soccer team, eight probably will not be enough.
But it feels pretty darn good right now.
The Mounties defeated Pittsfield, 2-1, on Tuesday at Kirvin Park to earn their eighth straight Berkshire County North Division Championship.
Benni McComish and Thomas Astle each scored a goal, and Cal Filson made seven saves as the Mounties (11-2-1) avenged a September loss to the Generals.
"It's amazing," McComish said. "We always love coming here and playing at Kirvin. The field is so much nicer than our field, so we can really play at our best. And I guess we played well enough to get the win today."
Mount Greylock coach Blair Dils said his side was thinking more about the task ahead of them than the 4-2 loss to Pittsfield back on Sept. 29.
"Really, it was about coming down here, playing well and trying to get the result," Dils said. "We knew if we got the win, we'd win the North outright. That was a big motivation for the guys over the last couple of weeks of training."
The Mounties came out and took it to Pittsfield (10-3-3) right from the opening kickoff, generating its first shot on goal off the toe of Aaron Kleiner in the third minute.
An early corner kick led to McComish's goal in the eighth minute. A Pittsfield defender made the initial play on the ball, heading it out of the 6-yeard box and toward the top of the 18. But a second header was missed by the Generals, allowing the ball to bounce to McComish, and the senior midfielder ripped a one-timer from 25 yards out.
The ball was initially played by PHS keeper Jon Matthew Bile (eight saves), but the rebound got away from him and dribbled into the goal to make it 1-0.
"Understand, even though it was at the keeper, that's a brilliant strike by Benni," Dils said. "We see him do that in training all the time. He tends to get his goals late in the season in key games.
"I think just the sheer pace of that ball, it probably knuckled a little bit."
Mount Greylock added to its lead midway through the half when Naka O'Connor set up Astle at the top of the 18. Astle's shot from the right-wing side snuck inside the near post to give the Mounties a two-goal lead.
But Pittsfield struck back.
The Generals converted their first corner kick of the game when Mount Greylock keeper Cal Filson (seven saves) got his fingertips on the ball, but it deflected to the far post for Jackson Rich, who headed the ball into the cage to make it 2-1.
In the second half, the Generals maintained the momentum from Rich's goal, keeping the Mounties in their end of the field most of the period, but Mount Greylock's defense refused to yield many quality chances, and Filson was there to stop the ones that did slip through.
"We tried a few things at the beginning which obviously didn't work, so we made a few adjusments," Pittsfield coach Andrew Antil said. "After about the first 15 minuts, I think we played a great game."
In the 52nd minute, Pittsfield's Samuel Heisecke fired a rocket from the top of the box that Filson was able to corral. With about 13 minutes left, Evan Dempsy had a try from about 22 yards out that just cleared the crossbar.
Dils was not surprised that PHS was able to rally after going down early.
"They were playing with energy, a little pride," Dils said. "They're down here and getting beaten in, this is basically the county championship game. And we come down and put two goals on them. It was pride.
"[Pittsfield] is a great team. I know they're down a couple of big guns, but there are still plenty of players on that side of the field who can do some great things."
The Generals were without senior forward Louis Higuera, who is out for the season with a broken collarbone, and senior midfielder Michael Holmes, who was serving a suspension after being carded in a previous game.
During the game, two more PHS players -- midfielder Luke Dallenbach and forward Jose Heisecke -- sat down with injuries.
Antil was not making any excuses.
"We're not a two-player game. We're not a three-player team," Antil said. "Everyone on our team contributes. Everyone is capable.
"It would have been nice to have those two guys, but everyone filled in when they needed to. We just didn't get the shots we needed."
With two games left in the regular season -- at Westfield on Thursday and home for Taconic on Saturday at noon -- the Generals have some work to do to get ready for the Western Mass tournament. After opening the year 8-0, Pittsfield is 2-3-3 in its last eight.
"Once we dropped that game against Ludlow (to go to 8-1), it's been hard to get up for games," Antil said. "The recurring theme is playing 80 minutes. ... Whether it's at the beginning of the match or the end of the match, if we're not playing 80 minutes, there's a lot of dangerous teams out there."
Mount Greylock finishes the regular season with games at Hampshire on Thursday and home against Monument Mountain on Sunday.
More photos from this game to come.