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Recap for the game: Mount Everett vs Hoosac Valley on Sep 16

Lesure Scores Two Late as Canes Tie Mount Everett

By Stephen Dravis Sports
05:08PM / Saturday, September 16, 2023

CHESHIRE, Mass. – After falling behind midway through the first half and trailing by two goals midway through the second, the Hoosac Valley girls soccer team Saturday struck twice in the final 11 minutes of play to earn a 2-2 tie against Mount Everett to break a season-opening four-game losing streak.
Junior Ashlyn Lesure scored both goals for the Hurricanes, who were outshot, 13-6, but dominated the last 20 minutes of play.
“We just persevered,” Lesure said. “We never gave up. No matter the circumstances, we fought as a team and didn’t give up.”
Hurricanes coach Mark Ziaja was happy with his team’s effort down the stretch but wants to see the same kind of urgency the full 80 minutes.
“”I called an early second half timeout because I just felt like we were not taking advantage of the opportunities now that we had the wind at our back,” Ziaja said. “It took that second [Mount Everett] goal for them to decide, ‘We’re going to play with a little more urgency, a little more purpose.’
“It feels good to get the tie, but if we’d had another 10 minutes or used the earlier 10 minutes … “
In the first half, the Eagles, playing with a stiff wind at their backs, carried the play and kept Hoosac Valley pinned in its end for the most part.
Meczywor stopped eight of the first half shots that came her way.
But in the 24th minute, Mount Everett’s Emily Steuernagle stole the ball on the Eagles’ side of the midfield stripe and sent it up the left wing. It ended up on the foot of Ella Gennari, who centered to Ainsley Krans. Krans one-timed a shot past a diving Meczywor to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Hoosac Valley nearly got the equalizer just before half-time on one of its rare forays into the offensive third.
The Hurricanes got a dangerous chance off a counter following a Mount Everett corner kick, but Mount Everett’s Emma Wilson (five saves) came up with her only save of the first half to keep it a 1-0 game.
Just after half-time, in the 42nd minute, it looked like Hoosac Valley would carry some momentum forward when it generated another shot on goal, but Wilson came off her line to deny a charging Hurricane forward and preserve the lead.
The Eagles then settled into the half and started looking for chances to extend their advantage. They finally found an opening in the 57th minute when Chevelle Raifstanger scored off Gennari’s second assist of the game to make it 2-0.
It looked like that would be enough to give Mount Everett its second win on the young season, but with a little more than 10 minutes left to play, Lesure took a pass from Talia Rehil, dribbled the ball up the middle into the top of the 18 and fired a shot into the net to get Hoosac Valley on the board.
With about three minutes left, the Eagles and their fans were holding their breaths when a shot by Rehill went off the post.
Less than a minute later, Lesure received the ball from Haley McNeice at the top of the 18 and took a shot from about nine yards that got past a diving Wilson to level the score.
Mount Everett coach Joshua King said that his team did not have enough left in the tank at the end of the game to sustain its lead.
“Obviously, we’re struggling conditioning wise, we’re struggling injury wise,” King said. “I was telling these guys, I’m with them two, two-and-a-half hours a day. It’s the little things that they have to do in July and August that will translate into better results in September and October.”
That said, there is plenty of soccer still ahead.
“We struggled against Lee last year when we tied them for Senior NIght, and we were able to flip the switch,” King said of the squad that went on to win a Western Massachusetts regional title. “We need everybody to flip that switch and lead by example.”
Mount Everett (1-2-1) hosts McCann Tech on Monday.
The Hurricanes (0-4-1) go to Springfield Central.
After getting shut out in its first two games to start the year, Hoosac Valley has scored twice in each of its last three. Ziaja said his team is moving in the right direction.
“I just wish we would be moving that trajectory a little faster than we’re doing right now,” he said. “This is where I have to be patient. I have five eighth-graders on this team. I have a couple of ninth-graders who don’t really have varsity experience.
“I have a really nice core, but filling out around them is going to take some time.”
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