GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. -- Olivia Ruggiero broke a scoreless tie in the 65th minute and went on to add a second goal Saturday to lead the Monument Mountain girls soccer team to a 2-0 win over Wahconah.
Ruggiero converted a cross from the right wing from Ava Gamberoni with 25 minutes, 31 seconds remaining for the game-winner as the Spartans (3-4-4) broke a three-game losing streak and got a much-needed independent win over their former Berkshire North rivals.
"We've been working in practice a lot on our finishing and getting those crosses," Ruggiero said. "Our wings do an amazing job, working up and down the field to get those amazing crosses in. And it's the attacker's job to support them by getting in the box.
"I really wanted it, and I had to hustle my butt down there, and I finally got one. I feel like it fueled the rest of the team."
After coming up short on five chances in a first half that saw few quality opportunities for either team, Monument Mountain coach Miguel Silva said he did not feel the need to make a lot of adjustments at intermission.
"We just needed to keep playing our game," Silva said. "We've been working on all the stuff that we're doing: being composed in front of goal, getting some crosses in, playing it out wide. That's what we work on. I knew sooner or later, something had to happen.
"It just happened to be that we had some nice plays that we practice over and over again, and Liv [Ruggiero] was composed enough to put two goals away."
The second came with 11:58 on the clock.
Irish Firth found Ruggiero in the middle of the 18, and senior forward one-timed a shot past lunging Wahconah keeper Eva Eberwein (five saves).
Those were the only two shots on goal that Wahconah allowed in the second half.
Wahconah's coach said she felt like her team was in a good place coming out of a scoreless first half on the road.
"We kind of changed some lines up a little bit, and I thought the girls adjusted really, really well," Meghan Smith said. "We had some offensive pushes that were stronger than previous games.
"We just have to continue on shooting the ball. But overall, there were two moments, and they were able to capitalize on those moments."
At the other end, Emily Mead kept Wahconah from capitalizing on the chances it created, making four of her seven saves in the second half to earn the shutout win.
She turned aside two strong shots by Wahconah senior Claire Naef in the 69th minute and the 75th minute with the visitors needing just a goal to level the score.
"Honestly, we haven't had that great of a middle of our season," said Ruggiero, whose Spartans started 2-0-3 before going 0-4-1 going into Saturday night. "We know Wahconah's a really tough team. They play hard, and we needed to work just as hard if not more."
Even though Monument now plays in the Pioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference's Central League and Wahconah is in the Kurty/Fielding League, the Berkshire North familiarity is still there.
"It's always a tough game," Ruggiero said. "We both know it, so we both really push each other to work harder."
Monument Mountain goes to Central foe Northampton on Monday.
Wahconah (4-6-1) will look to snap a two-game losing streak Tuesday when it hosts South Hadley of the Kurty/Fielding.