Mount Greylock Girls Top Wahconah, Claim County Title

By Stephen Sports
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DALTON, Mass. -- With 14 minutes left in Monday evening’s Wahconah-Mount Greylock girls lacrosse game, it looked like maybe, just maybe, the Mounties were going to have a relatively comfortable margin for once in this grudge match.
But nothing ever comes easy in this series.
Wahconah scored three times in a span of four minutes to erase most of a 10-5 lead, but the Mounties hung on for a 10-8 win that gave them the Berkshire County championship.
“One of the things I said to them at the end of the game is: ‘It’s OK to be up by five,’ “ joked Mount Greylock coach Lindsey von Holtz. “We keep getting up by five and letting people come back. I think, mentally, they let down a little bit when you think you’re going to win.
“And against a team like this, you can’t do that. They can come back, very quickly, as they showed.”
Emma Polumbo scored four goals, and Julia Whitney made nine saves for the Mounties, who won their fourth straight county title and third straight game this season while improving to 15-3.
Mount Greylock fended off two two-minute penalties and man-down situations in the final 6 minutes, 10 seconds -- after Wahconah (15-4) had trimmed its deficit to three goals, 10-7.
“It was pretty stressful,” Polumbo said. “Definitely, when they started to get those goals and started to make the comeback, I think we started to lose it a little bit and started to commit fouls that we shouldn’t have made -- myself included.
“But I think we held it together. We knew there were only a couple of minutes left, and we needed to get the ball back.”
Whitney made a save on a free position shot seconds after the first penalty started.
But Emmy Cote (four goals, one assist) set up Jordan Budaj for a man-up goal to get the lead down to two with 4 minutes, 31 seconds on the clock.
A minute later, Mount Greylock took its second penalty of the closing seconds, giving Wahconah two more minutes of advantage time. This time, Caroline Flynn (two goals) made an interception deep in the Mounties’ defensive zone, and Mount Greylock was able to advance the ball up the right wing and run out the remainder of the clock.
“That [interception] was huge,” von Holtz said. “And the part that actually makes it more impressive is we’ve probably done that three times this year and turned the ball over on the first pass. So Caroline was able to maintain possession and get it down the field -- so not only the interception, but then taking care of it and not throwing it away afterwards was huge.
“Once we were down here, we were relatively calm.”
The Mounties emerged slightly ahead after a back-and-forth first half that saw Polumbo and Cote each score three times.
Polumbo sliced through the middle of the defense with 4:19 left until half-time and scored to make it 6-4, but Cote answered with 17 seconds left in the period to make it a one-goal game at the break.
Mount Greylock used a 4-0 run to build the game’s biggest lead coming out of the half.
First, Sarah Stripp scored on a free position. Then Lauren Aliberti scored twice -- once on a feed from Haley Reinhard in transition. Finally, Polumbo scored on a curl from behind the goal to make it 10-5.
It stayed that way for nearly six minutes, before Cote converted a transition chance to get Wahconah back on the board. Perin Genaway (three goals) scored on a free position to make it 10-7 before Mount Greylock drew the first of its two late penalties.
Wahconah has one more game left, against Lee. Mount Greylock is off until Friday, when the seeds for the Western Massachusetts tournament are announced.
The Mounties will have a good long time to appreciate their victory in the rubber match against Wahconah, which evened the three-game season series with a 6-5 win in Williamstown back on May 12.
“We knew that we had a 1-1 tie [in games] with them, and we knew this was basically the win for the county championship,” Polumbo said. “We’ve been preparing for this. We’ve been focusing in practice, warm-ups, and we’ve just been really looking forward to this game.
“It was exciting.”
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