Lenox Girls Fall to Monson in Final
WESTFIELD, Mass. -- Kyle Zinchuk knew what a test his Lenox girls soccer team faced on Sunday.
Fortunately, he also knows for most of his players, it will not be their final exam.
It did turn out to be the Millioaires' last game of the season, a 5-1 loss to top-seeded and unbeaten Monson in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 title game.
But with one very notable exception, most of the Millionaires will be back next fall.
"I told the girls, 'You've got nothing to be ashamed of. That's a great team over there, Monson,' " Zinchuk said. "We are still very young. More than half my roster is freshmen and eighth-graders. This is just a great experience for us to get this far in this tournament and to have them be on this stage is a huge step for us a program.
"They were a little bit faster than us today, a little bit more technical on the ball than we were. You've got to give them credit. They deserve the win."
Megan McGuill scored three times and assisted on one more goal as Monson (18-0-3) advanced to Tuesday's state semi-final against the Central Mass champion.
The Mustangs wasted little time getting on the scoreboard on Sunday. Allyson Jarvis sent a cross from the left wing that glanced off the hands of Lenox keeper Shannon Meisberger (nine saves) and onto the foot of McGuill, who buried the shot for an unassisted goal in the fourth minute play.
Monson really opened things up about 12 minutes later, when McGuill and Jennifer Fabrycki scored 39 seconds apart to make it 3-0.
"The second and third ... I think those ones were a little bit harder on us just because of their close proximity," Zinchuk said. "It went from, '1-0, it's close, we're still in this game,' to bang-bang, to go 2-3 was a little bit tough.
"They got a little bit down on themselves for a while there. But we talked about things at half-time. We wanted to pick things up and just like we've done all year, fight through to the end."
Monson's lead was 4-0 at the half.
But Lenox, albeit with Monson making liberal use of is bench, played even over the last 40 minutes.
And after the Mustangs cruised through the quarterfinals and semifinals with a pair of 7-0 wins, the Millionaires earned a small moral victory.
In Monson's 225th minute of playoff soccer this fall, Lenox's Tova Brown sent a through ball up the left wing for Alessandra Arace, who knocked a shot inside the far post to make it 5-1.
Arace, who has committed to play Division I soccer and attend Providence College next fall, is the one notable exception among all the Lenox players who will be coming back next season.
Zinchuk said it was nice to see her add to her stellar career with a goal in her final high school game.
"She's had an unbelievable career with us," Zinchuk said. "It's going to be really hard to see her go. But I know she's going to do great things at Providence next year.
"The girls are all going to miss her. We're definitely going to miss her leadership and that spark she gives us. You can't replace a player like her. All you can do is take the lessons she's given us and the experience she's given to the girls playing with her. She'll leave a legacy behind her for sure."