Hoosac Valley, Wahconah Play to Another Tie

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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DALTON, Mass. -- The Hoosac Valley and Wahconah girls soccer teams have played for 160 minutes this fall and have decided absolutely nothing.
Hoosac’s Kayley Winn and Wahconah’s Jilly Cote each scored a goal on Monday as their teams played to a 1-1 tie.
It was the second stalemate in eight days between the teams, who played to a 0-0 draw in Cheshire last Monday.
And both teams came away with some positives -- just not on the scoreboard.
“To score on Wahconah was awesome,” Hoosac Valley coach Kathy Budaj said. “I mean, they don’t give up that many goals. They have a good defense. And our defense has been pretty solid.
“The team -- the dynamic of having each other’s backs -- we’ve been working on that. And it was good today.”
The Hurricanes got off to a good start when they converted the game’s first corner kick opportunity in the second minute.
Cairagan Greene’s restart from the right wing found Natalie Pompi in the box. She one-touched it for Shaleigh Levesque, who settled at the top of the 18 and sent a shot toward the goal.
Wahconah’s Abby Wells blocked the shot, but Faith Hall got the rebound for Hoosac Valley and sent it toward the far post for Winn, who finished to give the ‘Canes a 1-0 lead.
That was the best scoring chance for either side in the first half, a period that sent Wahconah into the break feeling like it needed a spark.
“We needed some fire, we needed some urgency,” Wahconah coach Meghan Smith said. “And I think they came out the second half with more of that. And then they found success with that goal. We just needed some more passion and some more drive.”
One constant throughout for Wahconah was the play of keeper Michaella Moncecchi, who made seven saves to keep her team within a goal of the Hurricanes most of the afternoon.
“Michaella is amazing,” Smith said of the senior keeper. “She will throw herself on that ball. She protects that net. And then, when she’s out of the box, we have other people to protect. But Michaella goes at that ball.”
Wahconah caught a break in the 68th minute when a Hoosac Valley defender was called for a handball about 30 yards from goal on the left wing.
Cote fired an on-target shot that glanced off a player inside the 18 and inside the far post, past a diving Gabby Billetz (eight saves).
Each team had a couple of chances to break the tie in the final 12 minutes, but Billetz and Moncecchi each withstood the test.
For Hoosac Valley’s Budaj, the late Wahconah goal was a little heart-breaking, but she was heartened by the Hurricanes’ continued strong defense.
“Yeah, it was a bummer,” Budaj said. “We played phenomenal. Our communication was key tonight. We’ve been working on our defensive positioning. It was a little off. And I consulted with a good old friend to talk about our defensive positioning, and he helped me tremendously.
“And we have been practicing it, and we knew what we were coming into. And I have to say, to carry that game for that long against Wahconah and then to give that up -- it was heartbreaking a little bit, but the girls rallied and we had that great opportunity at the end there. We just couldn’t put the ball in.”
Hoosac Valley (2-2-3) goes to Mount Greylock on Wednesday.
Wahconah (5-1-3) hosts Pittsfield on Thursday.
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