Monson Tops Lenox in Division 4 Semi-Finals

By Stephen Sports
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SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. -- Lenox girls soccer coach Kyle Zinchuk likes to talk about his team, and he has plenty of great things to talk about over the last few years.
But on Wednesday night, it was a little different for him after a 5-1 loss to Monson in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semi-finals.
“This senior class, this is the class that I started coaching with them as freshmen, on their first year on varsity,” Zinchuk said. “It’s a little sensitive for me in that respect because I started with these girls.
“I think, last year we made it to the finals and we lose a terrific player in Allessandra Arace going on to play DI soccer [at Providence College], and I think a lot of people saw the absence of her and said, ‘Oh, where are they going to get goals from? They’re not going to have the same punch.’
“But I think within the team, we all knew with this group of seniors, as well as the rest of the team, we were going to find ways to make those up. Girls would step up and find goals. So the leadership those girls exhibited throughout the season has been tremendous for us.”
Lenox (12-6-2) was behind the eight ball from the outset against top-seeded Monson (20-0).
Bryanna Murphy scored in the third minute off a corner kick to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead.
In the 10th minute, Shannon Jalbert put back a rebound off a Lenox defender to double that lead, and she scored again just before half-time to make it 3-0.
Monson added two more in the opening stages of the second half, before Lenox senior Jackie Hathway set up sophomore Shelby Lynch to provide the game’s final score.
It was reminiscent of last November, when Arace scored in the closing moments of a 5-1 loss to Monson in the Western Mass finals. Both times, it was the first post-season goal the Mustangs allowed.
“We talked about the need for a fast start, to try to put them on their heels because they’re a talented team and they’re used to playing from ahead,” Zinchuk said of Monson. “Unfortunately, they took a great corner on that play. I think Shannon [Meisberger, nine saves] got blocked off a little bit from getting to that ball. They get the early one, and it kind of takes the wind out of our sails.
“But we continued to fight all the way to the end. I know [Monson] was making use of their bench. But the fact that they were able to keep pushing and get a goal really showed me that they’re never going to give up, no matter what the score is.”
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