Wahconah Girls Upended in Western Mass Semis

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Wahconah girls soccer coach Pat West had a hard time explaining the call that cost his team a one-goal lead in Thursday night's Western Mass Division 3 semifinal.
He had a harder time explaining why his team was in the position of clinging to a 1-0 lead midway through the second half.
But Southwick took advantage of a penalty kick to tie the game and scored the game-winner with just more than 2 minutes to left to advance to Sunday's sectional final with a 2-1 win over second-seeded Wahconah.
"We picked a bad night to have a bad night," West said. "It was a universal malaise. I don't know what else to say.
"We haven't played like that in a long time. Give credit to Southwick. They did their job. They came after us.
"But we can play so much better."
Wahconah (15-4-1) appeared on the verge of shaking its malaise early in the second half, when sophomore Arden McKnight took a feed on the right wing from Amelia Daugherty, made a move to shed a defender at the top of the 18 and left-footed a blast off the hands of Southwick keeper Tori Richburg (seven saves) and into the goal.
But after going down by a goal, the Rams (11-7-1) redoubled their efforts.
And their pressure paid off in the 59th minute when Wahconah's Kayla Kowalczyk was whistled for a foul on a Southwick attacker inside the 18.
Kowalczyk earned a yellow card on the play, forcing her to the sideline and forcing Wahconah to insert its backup keeper on the ensuing penalty kick. Alex Mello buried the shot low and to the right to even the score a 1-1.
"I saw nothing different than what I saw on that play just before they scored the second goal where the girl ran right over the top of our kid," West said, referring to a later play where no whistle was blown.
"Goalies come out and get the ball all the time. [The referee] said because she didn't touch the ball, it was a foul. And I'm going to leave it at that."
Southwick scored its second goal with 2 minutes, 12 seconds on the clock. Sam Perusse set up Lydia Kinsman for a shot from about 20 yards out to provide the final margin.
Southwick moves on to face top-seeded Granby (18-0-2) on Sunday at noon at Westfield State University.
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