WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- For the second time in as many games, the Lenox girls soccer team Friday gave up a goal in the opening moments of play.
This time, the Millionaires could not find an equalizer.
But neither did they give up much else the rest of the way in a 2-0 loss under the lights to Mount Greylock in a battle of unbeatens.
Clary McWeeny and Madison Ross each scored a goal, and Delaney Babcock made three saves to help the Mounties improve to 4-0 this fall.
But considering the relentless pressure from Mount Greylock and the loss of standout keeper Sophie Patella to a first-half injury, the Lenox defense came up huge all night.
“I have to say, hats off to the Lenox defense,” Mount Greylock coach Tom Ostheimer said. “I know that Sophie Patella went out. … We were smart. We tested their keeper on the first shot, and she didn’t quite get to it, and then after that I thought she played great.
“I thought their defensive line was solid. They blocked a lot of shots. We just didn’t get a real clean look at the goal. It would have been nice to get that third goal, because they were just a counter away from getting right back in it.”
Senior Taylor Knight came off the bench and made nine saves in relief of Patella.
“You saw the two big stops she made on the [second half] breakaways,” Lenox coach Kyle Zinchuk said. “Taylor, we have all the confidence in the world with her when she has to step in there. She’s played in goal for us before. It was a few years ago, but she’s a quality keeper who could be starting for a lot of teams. It just so happens that for us she was a backup.
“So her stepping up, I can’t say enough about what she did.”
Patella was between the pipes for Mount Greylock’s first goal.
Just more than two minutes into the game, McWeeny and Jane Skavlem worked a give-and-go on a transition through the middle. McWeeny finished for her sixth goal of the season to make it 1-0 at the 2 minute, 10 second mark.
Zinchuk said the Millionaires were not thrown off their game by the early score.
“I honestly thought they did a really good job of bouncing back from that and not letting it get in our heads too much,” he said. “I think it helped that just two days ago, we gave up a goal 30 seconds in to Drury, and we fought back from that. I thought we learned from that, and when that goal goes in, it wasn’t, ‘Oh, no.’ It was, ‘OK, we’ve been here before. Let’s’ just keep working.’ “
Patella turned aside the next good scoring opportunity for Mounties, coming off her line to deny Ross at the top of the box.
And at the other end, Lenox earned a free kick from high on the right side in the 15th minute. Babcock made the save to keep it a one-goal game.
Eight minutes later, Ross doubled that margin with an assist from McWeeny, scoring her seventh goal of the season.
Although the all-state caliber sprinter did find the back of the net once on Friday, Zinchuk was happy with his team’s ability to keep Ross from doing more damage.
“Madison Ross, we all know how fast she is, and she definitely had her moments where she was able to burn us with that speed,” he said. “But I think, overall, we executed our gameplan in terms of keeping an eye on her pretty well and limited how many looks she was able to get.
“You’re never going to completely stop a player with that kind of speed and that kind of ability. But I thought we did all I could ask from our defense in terms of limiting those opportunities.”
On the other side, the Mount Greylock defense continues to impress, posting its second shutout of the year and lowering its goals against average to .5.
“I thought we were going to be good this fall, but when you look at who you’re missing from the year before, you think, ‘How can you replace…?’ “ Mount Greylock coach Tom Ostheimer said. “I would say the defense is playing really well together. They’re possessing out of the back. They’re gaining confidence in each other. They’re getting smarter. The chemistry is improving.
“And that was my worry in the beginning of the season, the defense, because of who we lost. I think they are pretty solid at this point.”
Mount Greylock puts its perfect record on the line Tuesday at home against Drury.
Lenox will look to bounce back Monday when it hosts Easthampton.