Mount Greylock Boys Even Series with Pittsfield
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Mount Greylock boys soccer team's defense had to overcome more than just a dangerous Pittsfield offense Monday afternoon at Kirvin Park.
"We knew going into this game with two of our senior offensive players out that we'd have to be really solid defensively and kind of worked on that in practice," Mount Greylock keeper Oscar Low said.
Low stopped four shots in the first half to backstop the Mounties to a 1-0 win that avenged a 1-0 loss to the Generals earlier this season.
It was the fifth shutout of the year for Mount Greylock (6-1-1), which has allowed three goals in eight games.
"For us, with a more veteran defensive front, it's all about communication," Low said. "We targeted their best player, No. 10, Luke [Peplowski] and worked from there -- double team him and then find the guys on the wing. And we have a lot of speed on our wing defense, so that really helped us there."
Pittsfield (4-1) carried the play most of the first half, but Mount Greylock broke through on a counter for the game's only score about six minutes in.
Diego Galvez sent a cross from the left wing into the middle for Luca Hirsch, who buried a shot for his first goal of the season.
"We let our guard down in the first half, and they scored a great goal," Pittsfield coach Andrew Antil said. "We didn't defend it the way we should have.
"We had plenty of opportunities. We did everything but put the ball in the net, and that's what we have to look at."
After giving up the goal, Pittsfield turned up the heat at the offensive end, but Mount Greylock, which was missing six players due to injury or travel, weathered the storm.
"I'll be honest," Mount Greylock coach Blair Dils said. "We were a little fortunate to win the game because they had so many chances. But I thought our back line did really well at the moment they were shooting the ball -- Oscar made a great play or someone blocked a ball or something like that.
"There were just a lot of individual defensive efforts that were great."
Both sides had opportunities to change the score in the second half.
Midway through, Pittsfield's Freddy Alejandro Lopez came within inches of finishing on a cross from Peplowski, but his shot went just wide.
Eight minutes later, Mount Greylock's Sol Sutter had a tri from the middle of the field at the top of the 18 that went just past the post on the left wing side.
Mount Greylock also put two shots on frame in the second half, but Pittsfield keeper Will Kinne stopped both to keep it a one-goal game.
"In the second half, we were better, and we had a nice little stretch where we had a couple of good scoring opportunities," Dils said. "Sol had a nice turn and look.
"We did enough to keep [Pittsfield] off the board, but that was about it."
With about three minutes left to play, the Generals had perhaps their best scoring opportunity of the day. Lopez won a ball from a drawn out Low at the top of the 18 and found an open Peplowski for a shot that looked to be on target but ricocheted off the head of a Mount Greylock defender and out of bounds.
The referees awarded Pittsfield an indirect free kick inside the 18 that resulted in Lopez firing into a seven-player Mountie wall. Matt Miller gotthe rebound for the Generals, but his point-blak shot was blocked by Mount Greylock's Josh Rudin.
Throughout the time it took to set up the shot and the Mount Greylock wall, Antil asked the referees why the header -- an infraction in the COVID-19-modified rules -- in the penalty area was not treated like a handball, which would have produced a penalty shot.
"I understand the referees are in a tough situation," Antil said. "The MIAA has done a good job putting this [season] together, and we have to be thankful for that. But we kind of have to take unfortunate situations because it's so weird. When MIAA doesn't have the experience of knowing what's going to happen with rule changes and the subtleties of it ...
"But we can't blame the loss on that one play."
Perhaps the soccer gods will give the Mounties and Generals an opportunity for a rubber match in the Berkshire County title game. For now, Mount Greylock is just happy to get back to level after taking a loss on their home field earlier this month.
"About 10 days ago, that was our first loss in a couple of years to a Berkshire County team, and after the game, we got together as a team, kind of reconciled and said, 'We are not the team we were last year. We're a different team with different strengths, and we have to build on those strengths and forget about what we did in the previous years,' " Low said. "We had some fire in our bellies today."