Hoosac Valley Rallies Past Wahconah to Stay Unbeaten

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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DALTON, Mass. -- Hoosac Valley girls lacrosse coach Molly Meczywor remembers the days when the Hurricanes could not buy a win.
These days, Hoosac is enjoying an 11-0 start after a 10-9, come-from-behind win at Wahconah on Wednesday night.
In Meczywor’s estimation, there is an important similarity between this edition of the Hurricanes and the ones that came out on the short end of 10- and 20-goal decisions.
“I think the the thing that’s always been characteristic of this team is its grit and hard work,” Meczywor said after her squad erased an 8-5 second-half deficit to earn a season sweep of Wahconah.
“Even when we would play those games and be down by 20, Claudia [Bresett], Chloe [Martel], Alie [Mendel], those guys who started with me, they never gave up. There was never a question, they always played hard. That’s something that’s been an expectation of this program: Regardless, you’re going to work hard.
“And I think our seniors have done a great job of setting that tone. We brought on Paige [Barrow] and brought on Brooke [DiGennaro] and brought on Kelsey [Bulson], and they just continue to set the bar.”
Mendel scored seven goals on Wednesday night, including the game-winner off a turnover in Wahconah’s defensive third with 3 minutes 8 seconds left in regulation.
For the hosts, it was the end of a disappointing second half that looked so promising when Jilly Cote scored her fifth goal of the game to give her team a three-goal margin with 13:49 on the clock.
“We made some key errors at the end that they were able to capitalize on and win the game,” Wahconah coach Kathy Budaj said. “We have two losses, both to Hoosac and both by a goal. Being a younger team that's a great start to the season.”
Wahconah, which posted six wins and a tie in between those two losses to the Hurricanes, came into the game with a short bench and then saw Chloe Accardi (11 goals, five assists) leave the game with a first-half injury.’
“We had to make some adjustments when Chloe went out early in the game with a major injury and I have to say the girls fought hard,” Budaj said.
“It was great to see both teams play their heart out.”
Appropriately for teams who battled to a 6-5 decision in a snowy season-opener, Hoosac Valley and Wahconah battled to a nearly even first half.
Cote’s goal off a free position with 2:27 left before half-time gave her team a 5-4 lead.
She then scored the first two goals of the second half and three of the first four to make it 8-5 before the Hurricanes staged their comeback.
One key in that Hoosac Valley rally: six straight wins on draw controls for the team in red.
“Credit to Maria Bartini, who is one of the assistant coaches, who switched Claudia [Bresett] in there, and then we put an extra defender down to help with the transition,” Meczywor said. “And I think Claudia did a really good job of maintaining and controlling the draw.
“I think that was a really great shift and the shift that we needed because it built us some momentum.”
Hoosac Valley (10-0) takes its momentum into a short midseason break before returning to action on Tuesday at home against Pittsfield.
Wahconah (6-2-1) hosts Lee next Tuesday.
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