WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Two of the best Division 3 soccer teams in Western Massachusetts Saturday tested one another and each faced a mental test in the process.
In the end, it was passing grades all the way around as Mount Greylock and Frontier played to a 1-1 draw on John T. Allen Field.
For the Mounties, the mental test came after two-time defending Western Mass champion Frontier broke a scoreless tie in the 43rd minute.
For Frontier, the challenge came after the hosts erased that deficit by virtue of a penalty kick that came from a disputed call midway through the second half.
The dangerous Sam Dils was tackled in the box in the 57th minute, drawing the penalty chance.
Brady Foehl went to the spot and made the most of the opportunity with the goal that kept Mount Greylock unbeaten on the young season at 1-0-1.
Frontier coach Dale Totman was happy with the way his team responded to the call.
“I liked our response to the adversity,” Totman said. “Because we felt it was kind of a questionable call. I thought we responded to that well. We didn’t pout and say, ‘Oh, no. We gave up a PK.’ We attacked the game after that, and I thought we had a pretty good chance at the end. We had a few good chances.”
Mount Greylock coach Blair Dils also was happy with the way his team responded to a tough early season test and got a well earned point.
“I thought we deserved a goal in the second half,” Dils said. “We were putting the pressure on them. We had the wind behind us. We hit the crossbar twice.
“It just felt like we deserved at least one in the second half. So I’m OK with the result given how much pressure we had.”
Mount Greylock controlled play for much of the first half too, but it had trouble converting its possession time into quality scoring chances -- something Dils chalked up, in part, to the fact that it is still early in the season.
“I thought our passing in the finals third wasn’t great in the first half,” he said. “We tried to address some things [at half-time] and get shorter passes, play those combinations through into the back line and get a better look at goals.
“There as a frantic quality to the game overall, and that may just be first big game jitters for some of these guys. They have to get used to taking a little time to make the extra pass or find someone’s feet.”
Frontier broke through in the opening moments of the second half, converting a restart in its own half of the field. The visitors turned a free kick into a run up the right side, and Ethan LaFleur ended up setting up Connor Bagdon for the latter’s first varsity goal with 37 minutes, 39 seconds left to play.
It was the second time in the first week of the season that Frontier (0-0-2) has struck first against a Berkshire County opponent. On Thursday, Monument Mountain came from behind to earn a 1-1 tie against the Pioneer Valley foe.
“In my opinion, Greylock and Monument Mountain are the two best Berkshire County teams, so getting two ties in those games -- I’m not disappointed by that,” Totman said. “Those are two good results.
“I like it that these guys are not happy with that. They want to win, and I like that they have that attitude.”
Mount Greylock will look for its second win on Thursday when it travels to Pittsfield.