NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- The McCann Girls soccer team Tuesday earned a berth in the Small School State Vocational Championship.
It was a defensive struggle in the Hornets Nest, but thanks strong goalkeeping from Alanza Quinones, the hosts prevailed against Upper Cod, 2-0, in the Tuesday’s semi-final to earn a shot at Norfolk Aggie at home on Wednesday for the state crown.
McCann’s offense got going late in the game, receiving scoring plays from Allie Gibeau and Jordan Budaj.
The first half of the match was dominated by defense and goaltending on both sides. McCann had the better of the possession time, which produced multiple scoring chances. The Hornets’ Hannah Fuller sent a shot towards net that missed just above the crossbar, and Budaj missed just wide on two shots.
Upper Cape Cod earned a corner kick and multiple crosses into the box that went unanswered. The first half ended, 0-0.
The scoring that McCann needed came late in the second half. In the 69th minute, Aimee Dowling crossed the ball into the middle of the field, finding Allie Gibeau, who netted the first goal of the game. In the last 10 minutes of the match, Upper Cape Code increased the pressure on the Hornets, making them defend for the majority of the rest of the game. The upped pressure allowed for a McCann counterattack with two minutes remaining.
Natalie Diesz kicked a through ball that found Budaj, who scored the Hornet’s second of the goal of the match sealing the game.
“This is a great win for this team,” McCann coach Mike Dowling said. “We had great defense and our great defense translated into offensive chances.”
Dowling said he tried an unfamiliar alignment and his team responded.
“We haven't played in the formation that we used this game very much this season, but we need a little more defense and it worked great for us,” he said.
The McCann girls soccer team will play Norfolk Aggie Wednesday at 3:30 at McCann Techfor the Championship of the Small State Vocational tournament.