ADAMS, Mass. -- Hoosac Valley senior Daniel Pompi missed his team’s first meeting with McCann Tech this season.
He did not miss a chance to give the Hurricanes a victory in the rematch.
Pompi took a feed from Evan Norcross and scored with 34 seconds left to play Friday night to give Hoosac Valley a 2-1 win under the lights at Renfrew Park.
“I give all the credit to Evan,” Pompi said as his teammates continued the celebration around him. “It was a beautiful pass from the wing. It was a team effort. We built it from the back. Our defense got it done pretty good during the game.
“Now we’re just looking forward to playing Pittsfield tomorrow.”
The Hurricanes (2-6-2) don’t get much time to celebrate their first victory of the season, but it was one worth savoring.
Hoosac Valley and McCann Tech matched one another blow for blow all night in a physical affair that saw each defense tested throughout.
Mostly, each stood up to those tests in a game very unlike the 3-0 win earned by the Hornets in North Adams two weeks ago.
“We just had a lot more energy,” Hoosac Valley coach Patrick Mahoney said. “That was about it. The intensity was there. And McCann did a really good job bringing it as well. We were just able to match it better this time around, for sure.
“And having Dan back helped quite a bit.”
Pompi said the independent game against county’s only public school team not playing in the Berkshire County league had definite rivalry feel to it.
“It’s always a fun game,” he said. “A lot of the kids on McCann’s team come from Hoosac. So we kind of grew up playing JV or youth soccer against them. So it’s fun to compete against them in a high school game. It’s always a more competitive game, as you saw tonight, because we know each other, and we know what each other can do.”
Friday’s renewal of the rivalry started with two big scoring chances in the first three minutes.
First, McCann Tech’s Connor Griswold hit the post on a counter up the right wing. Then the Hurricanes came right back seconds later with a Pompi run up the right wing that ended with a shot into the side panel.
Although that back-and-forth exchange set the tone, McCann Tech (7-4) generated the more dangerous scoring chances for the most part. But Hoosac Valley got a couple of big plays in the back from Derek Jiminez and Nicholas Alibozek to help keep it scoreless, and keeper Lucas Waterman had four of his six saves in the first half to keep the Hornets off the board for the first 27 minutes.
Finally, with 12 minutes, 57 seconds on the clock, McCann’s Omar Uqdah broke up a scoreless tie with an assist from Matt Bailey.
The lead lasted about six minutes before Hoosac Valley’s Brodie Lanoue connected from about 35 yards out after taking a centering pass from Norcross.
It remained 1-1 until the final minute of play.
The Hurricanes weathered a little bit of a storm to start the second half, though, a period that included a McCann Tech shot from outside the 18 that ricocheted off both posts before kicking out to the right wing for a Hoosac Valley defender.
Mahoney took his timeout in the 11th minute of the half.
“I wasn’t particularly happy with the start of the second half,” he said. “I called timeout in part because I wasn’t sure if [Aiden] Maturski was … he got [into a collision] a minute earlier, so I was trying to figure out what the deal with him was.
“And I just wanted to refocus everyone. Sometimes we get a little excitable. And I just wanted to bring it back down and say, ‘OK, you’re here to have some fun and play calm and do what you know how to do.’ And they responded. Just like Wednesday against Taconic, we went into half-time down, 1-nil, and it was a similar team talk this time even though we were tied up, 1-1.”
On Wednesday, the Hurricanes scored three times in the second half to get the win.
On Friday, it needed just the one goal, and got it with very little time to spare when Pompi managed to slip one past a diving Andrew Levesque (six saves).
That goal snapped a five-game winning streak for McCann Tech (7-4), but it could not erase a strong showing by John Bresett’s side.
“I think it was the best game we’ve played this year for sure,” Bresett said. “I think they played their toughest. And, honestly, we deserved it, but a few bounces don’t go your way, and it is what it is. It happens.
“They’re a good group of kids. They’ve got to shake it off. I know it’s tough. Come back on Monday, we’re going down to Westfield [Tech], and if they play like this, I think they can give Westfield a run for their money. Westfield is the team to beat in our [league].”
Bi-County leader Westfield Tech, which has not lost in the league this year, beat McCann Tech, 1-0, in North Adams back on Sept. 10.
Friday’s match will not count in the Hornets’ league standings, but everyone agreed the Friday night lights and the familiar opponent made for a great atmosphere.
“I definitely think it’s important,” Bresett said of the local rivalry. “I’d take Drury for a game, too, if I could. It’s good for the kids because there is that rivalry. They want to be better than their friends. Growing up, these were the games I liked the most -- the big rivalry games. It just makes the game that much better.”
“Look at our bench right now,” he said as his players mingled with fans. “We’ve got the half of Hoosac Valley that doesn’t play football walking over here at the whistle. It’s always fun to play in front of your friends, and they do a good job. We can hear them yelling or giving us some kind of support, and you can tell it spurs the guys on.
“It happens every time we play here [at Renfrew]. The final whistle blows, and you have this throng of classmates coming over and chatting and laughing. That’s kind of what high school sports is about. To have that here is an enjoyable experience.”