Mount Greylock Girls Advance to Quarters in Penalty Kicks
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Mount Greylock junior Clara McWeeny lost her footing in the act of taking her penalty kick in Tuesday's shootout.
Luckily, there were a few dozen folks on hand who would have been happy to pick her up.
McWeeny's successful PK clinched a 4-1 shootout win for the Mounties as they advanced past Frontier and into the quarter-finals of the Western Massachusetts Division 3 tournament.
"I never liked PKs, I've never liked that that's what decides the game, but, you know, that's just how it is," she said. "It's definitely a lot of pressure on the kicker. But we have been practicing, and you just know where you're going to go. You practice it 100/200 times like it's just a regular shot. That's what you have to tell yourself."
McWeeny was the fourth Mountie to go to the spot against Frontier's Siomara Green, and the first three tries were instructive.
"I kind of saw where the keeper was leaning towards," McWeeny said. "So, yeah, I kind of based my shot off that.
"And fell while taking it."
A fall, perhaps, but it lifted the seventh-seeded Mounties into the quarters against No. 3 Mahar (16-1-2), which knocked off Drury on Tuesday, 2-0, in Orange.
"They showed a lot of character," Mount Greylock coach Tom Ostheimer said of his team. "Riding out the OTs, I thought we had some good pressure in the end.
"And Delaney was awesome."
Delaney Babcock made 11 saves for the Mounties -- including four in overtime, three in the first 10-minute OT session.
"In terms of coming out of the net, playing it with her feet, her instincts were spot on," Ostheimer said. "She made a few point blank saves, and that's what you need out of a goalkeeper to keep you in the game."
Green and Babcock combined for nine saves in a back-and-forth first half that ended in a scoreless tie.
The Mounties generated three corner kicks in the first 10 minutes and had strong chances from Lily Lesieur and McWeeny but were unable to put the ball in the back of the net.
Mount Greylock is still adjusting to life without 17-goal scorer Madison Ross; the striker missed the last couple of games of the regular season. But the speedy Lesieur proved to be a reliable target up top.
"Lily Lesieur has added a lot of offense," Ostheimer said. "She's improved her game. She's physical, so she brings a more physical presence. It's a different style, but she's a speedster.
"It's taken some adjustment. We've only scored two goals in our last four or five games. We've been hard-pressed to put it in the net."
McWeeny converted a chance in the 57th minute for her team-leading 18th goal of the season to put Mount Greylock up, 1-0.
"Livia Morales and I had been playing well together the whole night," McWeeny said. "She'd been feeding me balls down the line. She played a good ball in to me. I turned and couldn't even see the goal but I just took the shot.
"I looked up from the ground, and it was in. Definitely a team goal. We worked it in there. It was really nice to get that one."
It looked like that goal would be enough for the Mounties, but in the 70th minute, Frontier's Cambrie Hamilton scored on a counter to tie it.
As the second half -- and later the two 10-minute suddend-death OTs -- wore on, the wind intensified and whipped back and forth across John Allen Field. At any given moment, it seemed like either team would have the wind at their back or in its face.
"The wind was definitely a factor tonight," McWeeny said. "We had to take it into consideration when we were taking shots. But I think we're a team that can adapt. We've had practices out there in worse wind and sleet.
"We've played in these conditions before. It's Western Mass."
And because it's Western Mass, the 1-1 stalemate after 100 minutes was not good enough.
Charlotte Rauscher started the shootout by giving Mount Greylock a 1-0 lead. Frontier's Jessica Wrisley answered to tie it after one "inning."
Morales then converted, and Frontier's answer was over the crossbar to give the Mounties an opening. Jane Skavlem them made her try to put Mount Greylock up, 3-1.
Frontier then put its second straight shot over the bar, giving McWeeny an opportunity to clinch the win. And she delivered.