Jamros' Late Goal Lifts Hoosac Valley to Playoff-Clinching Tie
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – It may have been a tie result, but it still meant victory for the Hoosac Valley Hurricanes girls soccer team.
Needing a win or a draw in order to qualify for the Western Massachusetts tournament, the Hurricanes competed like their lives depended on it and earned a 1-1 tie with the host Mount Greylock Mounties, in Monday night’s Senior Night match at Shewcraft Field at the MCLA Sports Complex.
“This puts us in tournament, and that was one of our goals, and we are playing well, and that is the bonus,” Hoosac Valley coach Kathy Budaj said. “We’re going into the tournament playing well and I hope we make some noise. Every single girl worked her tail off today, and I am very, very proud of them.”
Hurricanes sophomore forward Sydni Jamros broke free and connected for an unassisted goal with 2 minutes, 31 seconds remaining in the match. The nullifier came just minutes after the Mounties ended the scoreless contest when sophomore midfielder Clara McWeeny scored off an assist from junior forward Madison Ross with 5:31 left in the second half.
With time ticking off the clock and chances running out, Jamros broke free up the field with the ball, drawing the goalkeeper up to challenge her, and she put just enough touch on the shot. The ball cleared the opposition and found the net, instantly changing the fate of Jamros and the rest of the Hurricanes (7-7-3).
As soon as she saw the ball hit the back of the net, Jamros admitted she was taken away and almost could not believe that she had just scored. Then she was mobbed by her teammates and she knew what she had just done.
“Our coach is always saying to pick a spot and don’t just kick it at the goalie,” Jamros said. “I’m one of those people who normally kicks it at the goalie. So in my head I just said to calm down and pick a spot, because this is potentially the last chance we have to score a goal. For me, I just had to calm down and take my time and not rush it.”
It only seemed fitting that it was Jamros to come through in the end, after the speedster led a spirited offensive effort for Hoosac. From the very start of the match the Hurricanes were incredibly aggressive on offense, focused on pushing the ball upfield and attacking.
“At the beginning of the season we were kind of more of a defensive team, so we’ve been working on pushing more people up,” Jamros said. “That was crucial for this game, because we kept pushing up, and eventually we got the goal.”
Hoosac fought for every chance it could, taking eight shots on goal in the first half while allowing just two shots against their own net. Even against a stout and veteran Mounties defensive unit, the Hurricanes found their chances to fire. But Mount Greylock senior stopper Isabella Nicastro held her ground, recording five saves in the first half to keep things scoreless at the break.
Having already clinched a playoff berth, the Mounties (9-5-3) welcomed the intensity. Mount Greylock closed the season against some tough competition in order to prepare for the playoffs, and the team responded with three wins and two draws in its final five matches.
“I think it was good for us this last week playing Wahconah, Monument and Hoosac – three very strong North Division teams,” Mounties Tom Ostheimer said. “I put us into that same group of teams, and this was playoff soccer. I think it hardens us for what’s to come. They had a huge amount of incentive; they knew a win or a draw would get them into the tournament and they got their draw.”
With the relentless offensive attack working well, Hoosac made few adjustments at the half and simply kept coming once play resumed. The Hurricanes had nine shots on goal in the second half, with Nicastro again recording five saves to finish with 10 stops on the night.
The Mounties began to find scoring chances late in the action, taking seven shots on goal in the second half. They executed a nice offensive set to finally crack through when Ross sent a crisp pass to McWeeny for the clean shot through the net.
“You always worry about how much motivation there is going to be once you’ve already clinched your playoff spot, and I was proud of the way the team played hard,” Ostheimer said. “It’s always hard to give it up in the end, but we scored late too, and they have had a knack of getting late goals against us. We were determined to get a win tonight, but I think this will help us moving forward.”