Mounties, Spartans Battle to a Draw

By Stephen Sports
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – For 78 minutes, Tuesday night’s match between the Mount Greylock and Monument Mountain boys looked like the kind of game that would have lots of action but no scoring.
The last 120 seconds had plenty of both.
The Spartans and Mounties traded goals in the closing moments and settled for a 1-1 tie under the lights at John T. Allen Field.
Erving Henderson scored with help from Mason Whiteman in the 79th minute of play to give Monument Mountain a one-goal lead.
Then, with just a few seconds left to play, the Mounties’ George Munemo teed up a direct free kick from about 20 yards and fired a shot over the wall that caromed off the keeper and into the net.
“It’s the exact same spot where I had my free kick against Lenox,” Munemo said. “I’m comfortable taking free kicks there. But I knew I just can’t kick it over. So I made sure to get it over the wall, and then a little bit of luck, a good screen run from Everett Bayliss, and it skipped right in.”
It was Munemo’s sixth goal of the young season and salvaged a point in the highly competitive Churchill Division.
The Mounties (2-1-2) went to 1-1-2 in league play heading into Thursday’s road game at Churchill foe Westfield.
Monument Mountain (4-1-1) is now 3-1-1 in the league and completes the first half of the double round-robin when it visits the Bombers next Tuesday.
“It was nice to get the goal with a couple of minutes left, but, to be fair … a 1-1 game is a fair result,” Spartans coach Matt Naventi said. “Both teams played well. Both had chances. I’m not disappointed with it.
“I’m disappointed with our lack of discipline the last two minutes not to close it out. But I’m not disappointed with the result.”
Both Naventi and Mount Greylock coach Blair Dils said it looked like the match would go in the books with a 0-0 result midway through the second half.
The strongest chances to break the seal to that point came from Mount Greylock.
In the 14th minute, the Mounties' Simon Shin fired a shot from distance that forced Monument keeper Mark Kononenko (nine saves) to make a leaping save and punch the ball over the crossbar for a corner kick. Eight minutes later, John Morales sent a free kick from about 30 yards into traffic near the 6, but Kononenko leapt into a pile to punch the ball out of danger.
In the 62nd minute, Morales took a free kick from about 40 yards and sent the ball deep on the left side for Shin, who made a brilliant run but knocked his header just wide of frame.
At the other end of the field, Mount Greylock keeper Lex Anagnos needed to make just one save in the first half but staved off the first four shots on goal he saw in the second.
The go-ahead goal for the Spartans came following a free kick from about 30 yards.
The initial strike was into the wall, but Monument Mountain was able to collect the rebound. Whiteman ended up with the ball and dribbled past a defender before feeding Henderson on the right wing.
The Spartan striker converted for his team-leading sixth goal to put the Spartans on top with less than two minutes to play.
“He created a couple of really good looks in the first half and was just like a half a step away from getting two or three really good looks in the game,” Naventi said. “And he got that half step at that one opportunity. And that’s all he really needs. He can finish in tight areas. And he made a really nice play and got a good look on goal.”
Mount Greylock coach Blair Dils immediately called timeout – both to change the Mounties’ formation and get an extra player on attack and to emphasize the approach his team needed to take in the closing seconds.
“Just making sure that we get after the ball and get a turnover,” Dils said. “With the extra body up front, we needed to be high, high press. Because you could see parts of the game, we sat back and waited for them to play more into the middle part of the field.
“But, obviously, at that point, you’ve got to send everything forward and hope for the best.”
A Morales free kick from near midfield as time wound down sent the ball into the left wing side of the 18. The Spartans were able to clear the area, but a Monument Mountain player was whistled for a trip on Mount Greylock’s Jude Barzousky, setting up the free kick for Munemo that effectively ended the game.
The teams lined up for a final kickoff at midfield, but the referee, who was keeping time on the field, blew the whistle before either side took a meaningful touch.
Naventi and Dils agreed that the mid-September matchup had some playoff intensity between the former Berkshire North Division – now PVIAC Churchill Division – rivals.
“The energy was good,” Dils said. “We had a nice crowd here. I think the guys were a little bit on edge, and maybe that’s why the quality suffered in the first half. But it just had that good, old-fashioned Mount Greylock-Monument Mountain rivalry feel to it.”
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