Barry, Wahconah Shut Out Pittsfield
DALTON, Mass. – Dani Barry scored two goals, and the Wahconah girls soccer team snapped a two-game losing streak on the kind of night it hopes will be a harbinger of better days to come.
Ava Massaro and Sammie Kaley each scored a goal in a 4-0 win over Pittsfield as Wahconah improved to 2-4 this fall.
“It’s a big win,” Barry said. “Obviously, PHS is a county rival. With our tough league, we don’t get to play a lot of county teams. We look forward to these ones. We make them count.”
The victory gave Wahconah its first points in the Kurty-Fielding Division, which boasts just the two former denizens of the Berkshire County North Division.
Wahconah coach Maggie Rivers hopes the win also gives her team a lift heading into a tough week with two more league contests and an independent match against undefeated Mount Greylock back under the lights on Sept. 30.
“We needed the three-goal differential, and we needed the win,” Rivers said, referencing the points that come in the state ranking system with a three-goal margin. “So it was great momentum hopefully into next week.”
Barry scored what turned out to be the game-winner in the 16th minute of play when she headed home a Elena Iovieno free kick from deep on the left wing.
Iovieno was a force in the middle for Wahconah all night, helping to keep the Generals on their heels and in their end of the field most of the first half.
“Elena had a great game,” Rivers said. “She distributed well, she marked well, she’s talking well. She was everywhere. She hit a couple of crosses in that were great, a couple of great defensive stops – all-around great game for her.”
She also took the lion’s share of the corners for her squad, including one that led to the second goal late in the first half.
Pittsfield broke up the initial play but was unable to clear the 18, and Massaro settled the ball on the left wing side and ripped a shot inside the far post to make it 2-0 at half-time.
The Generals (0-7) came out of half-time and played their most inspired soccer of the night for about 20 minutes.
“We did a hard reset,” Pittsfield coach Hal Asher said. “We did a little tradition that we call ‘making it rain’ with different noises to spark our huddle [at half-time]. I think that really let the girls refocus and not really pay attention to the scoreboard.
“And we really got after it. The play that they had was stuff that I’ve been preaching and drilling them on in practice. And, technically, it’s not always possible to do, but they were doing it. As long as they learn from those fundamental things we’re working on, we will get better and score some goals.”
Perhaps Pittsfield’s best try of the night came on a set piece of its own, a free kick about 30 yards from goal in the 49th minute. But Abigail Murphy’s on-target try was caught by Wahconah keeper Edriana Collins, who made one other save to earn her first shutout of the season.
About nine minutes later, Barry put the game effectively out of reach with her second goal of the night, chasing down a Pittsfield defender from behind and taking away the ball at the top of the 18 before hitting the back of the net to make it 3-0.
“That was purely her eagerness to score … just pure hustle and tenacity on her part to score that goal,” Rivers said. “I mean, she could have given up at any moment.
“I think there were three 50/50 balls she won in that one series. Without her, that goal doesn’t go in. You don’t even get the ball up there. And her speed? You come to practice, and she never stops, not even for a second. And it shows in games.”
Sammie Kaley put the finishing touch on the win with a goal in the 83rd minute.
After two games in three nights, Wahconah gets a little time off to get ready for a stretch of three games in five days, starting with a road trip on Tuesday to Chicopee Comp, which earned a 3-2 win in Dalton in the season opener.
“I’m hoping to take three next week” Rivers said. “We’ve been working really hard, and we’ve had some tough losses. We fell to Chicopee Comp when we were up 2-0. … So we really, really need to show up this week with some tough games.”
Pittsfield has a week to get ready for its next game, on Sept. 29 at Pope Francis.