Lee Girls Bow in Sectional Semis
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- On one level, Thursday was a forgetable night for the Lee High girls soccer team.
But Wildcats coach Lauren Finnegan hopes her young team take something with them from a 7-0 loss to Monson in the semifinals of the Western Mass Division 4 tournament.
"We're just losing a couple of girls," Finnegan said. "The more time we spend in quarterfinals and semifinals, the more we learn to handle situations like this.
"And playing a against a better team, I always say that makes us better."
Top-seeded Monson (17-0-03) left little doubt it was the better team after it picked up its second straight 7-0 tournament win.
Second-seed Lenox (13-4-3) will try to slow down the Mustangs on Sunday afternoon at Westfield State in the sectional final.
On Thursday, Monson scored twice in a span of just less than two minutes early in the first half to set the tone.
First, Jen Fabrycki sent a cross from the right wing to Megan McGuill deep inside the 18, and McGuill finished to make it 1-0. Moments later, Allyson Jarvin sent looping cross from the right wing for Haley Richard, who volleyed home her team's second goal.
"A quick start is always nice," Monson coach Eric Degnan said. "These kids have been amped up. It seemed like we've been waiting a little longer than they wanted to with the rainout [Wednesday] night.
"That was important for us to come out, and we talked about possessing the ball and settling it down, especially with being out here on the turf for the first time this year. I thought we did a good job of creating some opportunities in their final third.
"You get a couple of quick ones, and it relaxes you a little bit."
Bryanna Murphy scored in the 25th minute before Fabrycki added a fourth goal with 4 minutes, 22 seconds left before half-time to start a natural hat trick that she completed midway through the second half.
After she scored to put Monson up 6-0, Degnan started to clear his bench. Thalia Pagan finished the scoring by playing a rebound off Brianna Hawley's 11th save of the night.
Lee had a couple of strong second half chances, including a try from about 10 yards by Karli Retzel that just missed the mark. But Finnegan was well aware that Monson was a very tough assignment for her squad.
"They are a spectacular team," she said. "I'm not going to take anything away from them. I'm not going to come out here and say, 'If only we'd played our game.' I'm going to give kudos where they're deserved.
"Monson's a great soccer team."