AGAWAM, Mass. -- If the most recent MIAA power rankings in Division 5 girls soccer hold up when seedings come out this week, Palmer will be in line for the No. 2 seed in the state and could see Mount Greylock in the quarter-finals.
And if that happens, Round 4 between these teams should be a doozy.
On Sunday, the Panthers got a goal from Madalyn Therriault in the final minute of the first overtime to claim a 2-1 win over the Mounties and the Class C Western Massachusetts Championship at Agawam High School.
In the regular season, Palmer defeated Mount Greylock by scores of 6-2 and 4-2. But Sunday’s game hung in the balance until the final moment, thanks largely to the play of Mounties keeper Mai O’Connor.
O’Connor made 12 saves, including three point-blank stops in overtime before Therriault, a verbal commit to Division I Fairfield University, scored from the top of the 18 to end the game.
“She’s young, and she’s not the tallest, but she makes up for it with her athletic ability,” Mount Greylock senior back Zoe Armet said of the ninth-grader. “She’s a huge presence out there, and we’re really lucky to have her, especially in this game. The amount of saves that she had, I can’t even fathom some of them. It was incredible.
“She’s definitely improved over the season with coming out to the ball. And she’s gotten better at communicating with us. Over the course of the season, we’ve definitely been a unit.”
Therriault took advantage of O’Connor’s aggressiveness to score the game’s first goal.
In the seventh minute, O’Connor, who already had one save under her belt, came out to the top of the 18 for a ball. Therriault beat her to the ball and dribbled into space to her left before finishing into an open net to make it 1-0.
Palmer (16-1-1) went on to outshoot the Mounties by a margin of 7-1 in the first half.
But in the second half, shots were dead even, 3-3, and Mount Greylock had the only one that ended up on the scoreboard.
In the 55th minute, Lucy Igoe was fouled on the left wing in the final third.
After she left the field with assistance, Livia Morales sent the free kick deep into the 18, where Lucy McWeeny headed it home to level the score at 1-1.
Mount Greylock had a couple of chances to get the game-winner in overtime. With just more than 8 minutes left, Igoe sent a cross from deep on the left wing that Maire Scanlon nearly was able to direct into the goal. A few minutes later, Scanlon had a try on goal that Sara Dresser (four saves) was able to deny.
Sunday’s OT loss snapped a five-game-winning streak for Mount Greylock (14-5). But it also gives the Mounties confidence that they can hang with the top teams in their division going into the state tourney.
“Toward the end of our second game versus [Palmer], granted we did lose, 4-2, but I thought we were outplaying them in that game, and, honestly, it felt good after that game,” Armet said. “We had a lot of energy coming into this game, and I think it really shows to have a 6-2 loss, a 4-2 and now 2-1. I’m really proud of that.”
*For purposes of MIAA playoff seeding, Sunday’s game does not count in either team’s record. Also, Mount Greylock’s Western Mass semifinal win went in the books as a tie for state power ranking purposes. The record in the story reflects their record if Sunday’s game is counted as a loss and Wednesday’s game was a win instead of a tie.