Saturday September 1, 2012

NORTH ADAMS -- Molly Meczywor kept busy on Friday afternoon.

The Drury girls soccer coach stayed active on the sideline during a "scrimfest" at Drury High School, shuttling players in and out against Wahconah. Watching the play in front of her, she chirped at her assistant.

"Write that down!" she said. "We need to work on headers."

Friday’s gathering brought six teams to North Adams, all in the name of getting game-ready for the season. Meczywor said seeing her team on the field is a big part of making sure the Blue Devils are set for Thursday’s opener at Monument Mountain.

"I try to get a scrimmage early in the week and then we say what are our three top priorities," Meczywor said. "That gave us Wednesday and Thursday to pinpoint those things. ... We need to see growth between Tuesday and Friday. We’re kind of still seeing some of the breakdowns but for the most part it’s been pretty good."

Friday was a big day for scrimmages across the county, with the Kickoff Classic’s high school jamboree taking center stage 20 miles south at Berkshire Community College. Lenox boys coach Scott Chadwick was looking for the same kind of progress out of his defense.

"You learn a little every day as you go," Chadwick said. "This is just one small part of it. You try some things, try some players here and there. What’s going to work? Who can play where? How are we going to sort this out? That’s the way we do the whole season.


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By the end we hope to get it straightened out but right now it’s not really straight."

The Millionaires had work to do at this event last year, too, before Chadwick found the right combinations to lead Lenox to another Western Massachusetts title and the state semifinals.

Taconic boys coach Mark Wasnewsky, whose team faced off against the Millionaires on Friday, said he’s still trying to cement a starting lineup so the jamboree was almost a live-action tryout. The Braves are moving up to the tougher Berkshire County North Division this fall.

"It shows you some of the things you really need to focus on," Wasnewsky said. "You can see, ‘All right, we’re set here but it looks like we need to work on this a little more and this a little more.’ "

Back in North Adams, new Wahconah girls coach Pat West was preoccupied with his team’s fitness level. The Warriors, who made the Western Mass. Division II final a year ago, have a brutal start to their schedule with six tough games in the first two weeks. Wahconah came to Drury decked out in black T-shirts on a day when temperatures approached 90 degrees.

"I suppose the heat, when we hit a cool day ... I think it’s going to help stretch us out," West said. "I think it’s going to get us to the point where we can do better."

West’s players are hoping for just that. Kyrsten Thibodeau, a junior defender who had her assignment shifted between scrimmages, said getting out and playing was not only fun, but would help her improve before the season opens with a road trip to Belchertown on Sept. 8.

"I’m trying to prove to myself that I can be who I know that I am," she said. "I don’t take any of the criticisms really seriously because I know it’s only helping me get better."

To reach Christopher James:
cjames@berkshireeagle.com,
(413) 496-6252.
On Twitter: @BECJ2K.