LENOX, Mass. -- Mary Elliot scored on a counter in the 70th minute to erase a one-goal deficit and send the Lenox girls soccer team on to a 1-1 tie against Drury on Tuesday night.
Drury led for 50 minutes after Elli Miles’ first half goal and controlled the play for much of the night.
The Millionaires found a way to escape with the point and stop a three-game slump, but Lenox coach Kyle Zinchuk said he wished his team did not need the late-game dramatics to avoid a fourth-straight loss.
“We’ve got to work on not waiting until the last 20 minutes to turn up the intensity and effort level,” he said.
“I think the first half, especially, we were shooting ourselves in the foot by not being clean enough on touches, forcing things into them defensively. We weren’t finding feet. We were playing a little bit of kickball. So once we kind of sorted that out a little bit, I think you saw us connect a lot more passes, especially in the last 20 minutes.”
The tide really started to turn in the 66th minute when Elliot fired a shot on McKenzie Dobbert (10 saves), who turned it aside for the first of three big saves in a span of three minutes to preserve the Drury lead.
Aidan Burns and Aliza Munch followed up with strong chances before Drury coach Maria Bartini took her timeout with 19 minutes, 6 seconds left on the clock.
“Part of it was just to give us a little bit of a breather,” Bartini said. “We were starting to look a little bit gassed, and I wanted to get us recentered. And things kind of settle down after that.
“We had some good chances. Taylor [Knight] is a good goalie, so she made some good plays and was coming out on us repeatedly. A less experienced goalie might not have come out for all those through balls, and we might have snuck a couple more in there.”
In the 70th minute, Drury earned a corner kick on the right wing side. Knight punched the ball out of the 6, and it ended up on the left side for Lenox. Amy Alderton sent a long ball up the wing for Elliot, who took one touch to send it forward and give herself some space and then raced in and slipped a shot inside the near post to tie it.
The goal allowed Zinchuk to keep Knight (12 saves) in goal rather than sending the sub he had ready at midfield in order to give her a chance to jumpstart the Millionaires’ offense.
“It was getting down to that 10-minute mark, and we were looking at potentially trying take Taylor out and get her on the field as a field presence for us because it doesn’t matter if we lose 1-0 or 3-0,” Zinchuk said. “We got the goal to tie it, and we were feeling the momentum swing a little bit, so we kind of changed our minds on that.
“But it is something that we have the ability to do if we feel we need to. Ideally, we don’t put ourselves in that situation to begin with.”
The Millionaires found themselves in that situation thanks to Miles’ goal from outside the 18 off an assist from Alyssa Russell in the 18th minute.
That one-goal lead, that held up for most of the match gave Drury hopes of earning a win over Lenox for the first time in recent memory. The fact that the Blue Devils came home with a point against the perennial Berkshire County South Division power was a step in the right direction for the Drury program.
“I’m really proud of us,” Bartini said. “We competed really well throughout the whole game, and it was a good result. It was a point. … We executed our game plan, and I can’t really ask for more than that.”
Drury (2-9-2) hosts Pittsfield on Friday.
Lenox (6-5-1) is at Wahconah on Thursday.