Amherst Gets Past Pittsfield in D1 Boys Soccer

By Shannon Sports
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The No. 4 Pittsfield boys’ soccer team fell to No. 1 Amherst 3-1 in the semi-finals of the Division 1 Western Massachusetts tournament Tuesday afternoon at Springfield Central High School. 
Amherst got things started quickly; Ian Robson gave the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead 4 minutes, 35 seconds into the first half.
The Generals did not back down though, they continued to work the ball up the field but Amherst’s defense speed was able to stop Pittsfield’s attack, limiting their scoring opportunities.
“In the first 10-15 minutes it was tough, we had trouble getting them going,” Pittsfield coach Andrew Antil said. “I think they were nervous, it’s a big stadium, big scene and we’re used to being tucked into the Berkshires.”
With 20 minutes remaining in the half Amherst put the score at 2-0 off a pass from Robson to Andrew Zyskowski.
Pittsfield finally got on the board in the final 5 minutes of the first half off a corner kick. Louis Higuera sent in a beautiful ball that Shane Tierney was about to get to and headed it into the net leaving the score at 2-1 going into the second half.
“We weren’t thinking straight, some guys were a little hesitant, played a little tentative,” Antil said. “So once we got our first goal I think we started to believe and I said let’s build from this.”
“I said we didn’t show up for the first quarter of the game, but now we’re here, so let’s keep it going and start playing the ball on the ground and get our center midfielders on the ball and just start playing sharp passes and creating.”
Pittsfield did create a few opportunities in the second half, not as many as they would have liked, but they were able to get some shots on net. Unfortunately for the Generals none of them were ones that Amherst let by.
Amherst didn’t have many good looks in the second half, Pittsfield’s defense worked to keep the tourney's top seed out of its offensive end. At the 27:30 the 'Canes were sent to the corner and got their best shot of that half thus far, but Pittsfield goalie Harrison Rapant was able to get his hands on it keeping the score at 2-1.
Two minutes later Amherst was sent to the corner again, sending in a ball to the far corner that Alexander Mangels headed into the net, leaving the final score at 3-1.
“We weren’t on our game tonight, we worked hard, but we didn’t work as smart as we should have,” Antil said. “Overall we had some moments of good soccer, but it just wasn’t the 80 minutes that we needed.”
Amherst now advances to the Western Mass final against No. 3 West Springfield. 
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