Hopkins Stops Lenox Boys in Semis
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. — After getting through the rugged Berkshire County North schedule with seven wins and knocking off the Western Massachusetts Division 4's third seed in the quarter-finals, the Lenox boys soccer team just missed a trip to the regional final.
"Just missing" was the story of the night for the Millionaires.
Lenox fell, 2-0, to second-seed Hopkins Academy in the regional semi-final at Northampton High School on Tuesday evening.
The Millionaires (9-8-4) came within inches of taking an early lead on several occasions, and after Hopkins took a one-goal lead in the second half, Lenox try with the keeper well off his line that went awry.
It was not Lenox's night.
"We played with a lot of heart, and we looked better in parts with the ball," Lenox coach Simon Borrett said. "The thing was when they had a chance, they put it away. And that's the difference.
"Maybe if we'd scored that first goal in the first half, it would have changed the complexion. ... Tonight, we didn't have our finishing boots on, which is a shame."
Hopkins' keeper John Jacques really only needed to make one save to earn the shutout. That came midway through the second half.
About 10 minutes later, Evan Delaney scored his second goal of the game for the Golden Hawks, and Hopkins held on without another serious threat despite Lenox's efforts to pull everyone up into the offensive end.
Back in the first half, it was a different story. The Millionaires carried the play most of the first 40 minutes, doing just about everything but putting the ball on frame.
"Lenox came out and did some very nice things against us," Hopkins coach Justin Campbell said. "They moved the ball well. They put some chances on the net.
"We made a couple of adjustments positioning wise and started going to the ball a little quicker and gaining control of the first touch to our players and getting positives from that rather than reacting to their first touches."
Perhaps the best opportunity for Lenox to take the lead came 16 minutes into the game when Agi DeFarlo sent Mike Abdalla into the box from the right wing. Abdalla got behind the Hopkins defense, but his shot slipped just wide of the near post to leave the score at 0-0.
Tuesday's win sets up a rematch of last year's Division 4 final, where Hopkins beat Monson, 1-0. On Tuesday night, Monson beat Smith Academy, 5-1, to get back to the final.
A year ago, Monson reached the regional final with a 6-0 win over Lenox. Tuesday's showing gives Lenox fans every reason to believe that next fall the Millionaires may not miss when they get to Northampton.
"We started two freshmen today in the back, and I thought both were very good for us," Borrett said. "We had two young gentlemen in the midfield who played the majority of the game. They'll be returning.
"And we've got a couple of pieces we can bring in and can probably do a job for us. We play a tough schedule. We like to test ourselves against the bigger programs, the Minnechaugs, the Mount Greylocks, playing in Berkshire North. That we see as a way to prepare us for where we want to be every year, and that's Western Mass."