DALTON, Mass. — A couple of putbacks put Monson back in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semi-finals and ended the Wahconah girls soccer team’s season on Sunday afternoon.
The Mustangs put back a rebound off the keeper and scored off a defensive clearance to earn a 2-0 win over fourth-seeded Wahconah (11-4-5) on a muddy pitch in a match originally scheduled for Thursday.
“It kind of just deflected weird, and just didn’t go in our favor — those two weird balls,” Wahconah coach Meghan Smith said.
Shots were even at eight apiece, but Wahconah, which scored 10 times in its first playoff game, was shut out for the fourth time this season, allowing Monson to move on to meet South Hadley for a berth in the sectional final.
Wahconah had the better of play in the early stages, getting a couple of hard shots on goal from Noelle Furlong and Chloe Accardi in the first 20 minutes.
But Monson turned the tide late in the half.
Wahconah’s Michaela Moncecchi came off her line to deny Alex Doyle on a dangerous chance on the right wing side of the box in the 31st minute.
Then, with just more than four minutes left in the half, Doyle broke in on goal from the left wing and fired a shot that Moncecchi saved, but Doyle was able to cash in the rebound to give Monson a 1-0 lead.
Both sides struggled to get their footing all afternoon, but Smith tried to not make the conditions a focus for her players.
“It’s just hard to get a grip, but as I told them, we’ve got to control the 'controlables,' ” Smith said. “We can’t do anything [about the mud]. They’re playing on the same field that we’re playing on.”
In the 64th minute, Monson picked up an insurance goal.
After a Wahconah defender stopped an initial attack and swept the ball out of the goal box, Cam Lobik recovered for Monson at the top of the 18 and struck for an unassisted goal.
Wahconah’s best chance to get on the board down the stretch came three minutes later when Jilly Cote drew a foul about 35 yards from goal. The resulting direct free kick was on frame, but Isabel Bailey (eight saves) made the stop to preserve her shutout.
After spending a moment with her seniors, Smith reflected on what they’ve meant to the program.
“One of them was with me for all four years of her career up here [with the varsity], and the others came shortly after, in their sophomore year,” the fourth-year head coach said. “They’re great. Their shoes will be hard to fill. They were strong -- back line, midfield and up top. They were vital bodies in all three of our lines.
“They will be missed.”