WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Through snow and sleet, Mount Greylock boys soccer kept up its game to beat ninth-seeded Athol, 6-0, in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 quarter-finals on Friday night.
The Mounties' strong season left them 12-1-3, seeding them at No. 1 in the region and giving them a bye into the quarters.
But they did not show any rust from the time off.
Four minutes into the last home game of the season, Greylock got past the Athol defense for an apparent score, but the game stayed 0-0 as an offsides call didn’t count the goal. Friends, parents, and grandparents couldn’t be deterred by the looming winter weather and could be heard sighing with disappointment as Ian Brink (15) shot what appeared to be a perfect kick but bounced off the goal post.
After an almost-goal off a corner kick and three consecutive attempts on goal for Mount Greylock, senior forward Crow Brennan scored with 15 minutes on the clock, assisted by sophomore Eric Hirsch.
Less than a minute later, Hirsch scored, pulling the Mounties ahead, 2-0.
With yet another Greylock attempt on goal, the boys fought to put the ball in the goal, scrambling over each other like they were back playing for their u12 team. But they kept it interesting, making the crowd in the bleachers momentarily forget that the temperature was close to freezing and so were their toes.
The Mounties didn’t leave any questions going in to halftime and brought the score to 3-0 with 2:40 left in the first half. Again, Hirsch did the honors.
The sleet and snow let up for the most part, leaving everyone now to brace against the biting wind. Eight minutes into the second half, junior midfielder Benni McComish scored the fourth goal from an impressive 40 yards.
Athol remained mostly defensive during the playoff game and had a few solid attempts on goal but the visitors couldn’t get past the Mounties, whose speed and footwork were unmatched.
Sophomore midfielder Felix Kershaw scored Mount Greylock’s fifth goal of the evening from a penalty kick, hooking the ball in right over relieving Athol goalkeeper Justin Blake’s head with 23:29 on the clock. The five-goal lead allowed Coach Blair Dils, who is in his sixteenth year at Mount Greylock, to play others on the field.
The crowd was fixed on the game; the group of high school students led cheers with every goal, traditional with professional European teams.
When Ian Brink fired a shot through Blake's hands with 19 minutes left to make it 6-0, the stands went wild; the Mounties charged on, not easing up on the Red Raiders ‘til the very last seconds.
Although not a nail-biter down to the wire, the Mount Greylock boys successful season has come to a head as they advance to the semi-final round of the MIAA Western Mass playoffs. The team will face
No. 4, Southwick (9-3-4), this coming week at a neutral location. Southwick beat Monument Mountain earlier Friday afternoon, 1-0.