SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. -- The Lenox boys soccer team probably will not want to add the rope-a-dope to its repertoire.
But on Thursday night, that’s pretty much how it worked out in the MIllionaires’ 3-1 win over Granby in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semi-finals.
“The way the game went, it almost worked in our favor that they scored early,” Lenox coach Camilio Bermudez said of Granby’s goal in the second minute of the game. “They got their goal, and they kind of … dropped a little bit. I think they were riding the, ‘We’re up 1-0,’ and the adrenaline’s rushing.
“If the game had gone 1-0 a little longer, I think they would have gotten a little more pressure on us. But thankfully, we got a goal.”
In the 22nd minute, Michael Abdalla scored with an assist from Luke Murphy to tie it.
“Then it took them down a little bit, and we were able to grasp the game even more,” Bermudez said.
Abdalla added another in the second half to win it as second-seeded Lenox (15-2-3) wrapped up a berth in Saturday’s sectional final at Westfield State University against No. 1 Monson (15-4-1), a winner over Gateway in Thursday’s other semi-final.
At South Hadley High School, Abdalla put Lenox on top for good with a goal on charge up the right wing with 31 minutes, 17 seconds left in the second half.
And Lenox kept the pressure on from there, punctuating the win with Nic Baruch’s tally in the 70th minute to provide the final margin.
The Millionaires outshot Granby (17-3) by a margin of 14-2, but Matt Tibbetts made the first half save he needed to make to keep the game tied.
Bermudez is hoping for a stronger start on Saturday.
“We’ve been coming into these games really week, and I told our guys that soccer is a game of moments,” he said. “And, unfortunately, one minute you fall asleep -- we were switching a guy -- and you give up a goal. All of a sudden, you’re in a big hole.
“But it’s a testament to their character because we got the goal, and we were able to crawl and get get ourselves back into this game.”