Unbelievable drama at Szot Park tonight. The game had several momentum swings. MM started off with confidence and controlled play for the first 20 minutes. MG fought back and played beautiful possession soccer for the next 20 minutes but with very little to show for it on the offensive end. At the end of 40 it stood 0-0 with MM having the slight advantage in quality scoring opportunities.
With both teams pressing for the goal, MG broke through in the 54th minute. Grant Raphael played a long diagonal ball that MM's back Connor Storit misplayed. The miscue went right to Eric Hirsch on the left side of the goal and with a swift strike with his left foot across the goal mouth, the ball struck the side panel and the Mounties improbably led 1-0.
The goal awoke the senior-laden Spartans, and their intensity after the goal immediately put the Mounties on their heels. Just six minutes of the MG goal, Bobby Kinne launched a long throw-in over the head of MG defender Ian Brink. The ball landed at MM's Cam Powell's feet and with one quick turn and an even quicker right foot strike high to the short side, MM had tied the game and regained all the momentum.
MM kept up the constant pressure, but the stout MG defense, led by Jake Foehl and Dave Majetich, kept the Spartans at bay. Cal Filson made a gorgeous two-handed save off another blast by Powell with six minutes in regulation to keep the game a stalemate.
Two ten minute overtimes brought few scoring chances, and then it was on to the dreaded penalty kicks. MM won the toss and elected to shoot first. The PK shootout began in nightmare fashion for the Mounties. MM's first three scorers converted and MG's first two shooters (Eric Hirsch and Dave Majetich) were stopped. Needing a make to keep MG's fleeting hopes alive, Grant Raphael stepped up and got the Mounties on the board, cutting the deficit to 3-1 after three rounds of penalties.
Still, MM only needed to convert 1 of the next 2 or have its keeper stop either of the last 2 MG shots and they would book their ticket to the final. The never-say-die Mounties clawed their way back to a 3-3 tie after the first 5 rounds of shots--MM shot over the bar in round 4 and Ian Brink converted (3-2); Filson stopped shot number 5 for MM and Jake Foehl buried his. (3-3) On to sudden death PKs as the fans of both teams doubled over in agony. MM's sixth shooter finally got them back on track with his conversion (4-3), but back Taylor Carlough, again with his team facing elimination, converted his chance to make the overall score 4-4. In round 7, Filson came up huge with a stop of MM's Kinne shot, and then all eyes turned to junior Dan Flynn. Flynn calmly drilled the ball into the side netting and the Mountie celebration began in front of the shocked MM players and their stunned fans.
The second-seeded Mounties will play #1 seed Belchertown in the Division 3 Western Massachusetts Finals at a date and time yet to be announced.