WESTFIELD, Mass. — It was heartbreak for the Lenox girls soccer team Saturday as it lost in penalty kicks, 6-5, after going scoreless through regulation and overtime in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 title game.
This game was played mainly in the middle of the field with Granby’s Rams and the Millionaires proving to be evenly matched.
Lenox was the better side in possession, but it never seemed like it could get a breakthrough. Granby on the other hand played a different style looking for a more direct approach trying to find the big target up front Nora Young.
The first good chance of the game came from a Lenox shot from outside the box. The Granby keeper, Julia Gauvin dropped the ball, but Lenox was unable to follow up with a shot. The game continued to go back and forth, with Lenox controlling the pace of play with one two passing. It wasn’t until 10 minutes left in the half before Granby had a good chance to score. The Rams were denied by Lenox keeper Sophie Patella, who had an outstanding game. She finished with nine saves on the game not including multiple big saves in PKs.
“You can’t say enough about Sophie, She had a number of big saves in regulation and in overtime, Lenox coach Kyle Zinchuk said. "I think she saved 3 or 4 in PKS and she was phenomenal. To be a freshman in that situation and come up big was remarkable.”
Granby would gain some momentum and continue to test the keeper late in the first half, but once again unable to find the back of the net. The score was level, 0-0 at the break.
Right out of the break Granby would get another chance, this time from a corner kick. Lenox did a good job of defending the set piece and were able to weather the storm. Lenox would finally get their feet back tipping the momentum in their favor. The Millionaires looked most dangerous playing up the left wing trying to get in behind the Granby defense. They gota few corner kicks but could not break the defense down
It seemed that no one was going get by either teams defense or keeper and that would prove to be true not only in regulation, but in extra time. All the good possession and passing for Lenox wasn't going to be enough and this one was going to be decided by what some call the “lottery.”
With the way this game was so evenly matched it was only fitting for both teams to be tied after the first five shooters, 2-2. Lenox had a couple chances to win the game, but back-to-back shots went off the post denying them the victory. The game was finally finished after the 10th kick, when Granby netted their chance before Lenox’s shot was saved.
“I thought we had the better of the play, but that’s the game,” Zinkchuk said. "If you can’t find a way to put one away you end up with penalty kicks like that. It’s not the most fun way to end the game, but it has to be decided some way.”