GREAT BARRINGTON — Less than a week ago, it was uncertain whether or not the Monument Mountain boys soccer team would be in the postseason.
The Spartans needed a win or draw in their game on Sunday at Mount Greylock, the Berkshire County League North Division champions and a team Monument had not defeated on the road since 2006. But the Spartans earned a one-goal victory over the Mounties, made the playoffs, and followed it up with a 3-0 victory over 10th-seeded Putnam on Wednesday in the first round of the Western Massachusetts Division III tournament.
Dan Newey, Sam Seckler and Evan Peretti each scored for the seventh-seeded Spartans (8-6-4). Monument advances to the quarterfinal round where it will play second-seeded Hampshire on the road on Friday at 6 p.m. Matt Weston and Mitch Amstead each contributed first-half assists for the Spartans while goalie Kevin Kelly recorded one save in a shutout effort.
"The guys knew that our tournament didn't start today, it started with the Greylock game," Monument coach Matt Naventi said. "We looked at it as, we go into that game and our tournament is easy for us in a sense that we only needed a draw and we could move on to get into the tournament."
Monument controlled possession, registering 11 shots on goal while Putnam had just one. The Spartans played very good defense, too, something they've done well lately.
"I've been much happier with what we've been doing defensively," Naventi said. "We haven't given up a goal now in four games. We've only given up six goals over our last 10 games. Against a team like Hampshire that's really strong defensively, our biggest struggle, like it was against Greylock, is just to see if we can take advantage of our one or two opportunities that we'll get."
The first 10 minutes or so were a bit choppy, which isn't unusual when two squads are playing in a postseason game. After two shots on goal were saved, it was Newey that broke through in the 14th minute off an assist from Weston to give Monument a 1-0 lead.
It took only 68 seconds for the Spartans to double the lead, as Seckler got behind the defense and pushed one past the goalie and into the back corner of the net. The goal was assisted by Amstead, and Monument took a 2-0 lead into halftime.
The second half featured only three shots from the Spartans and none from Putnam. Monument didn't even register a shot over the first 20 minutes following the break, but it finally scored a third goal when Peretti struck one from outside of the box and over the keeper with only 5:42 remaining in the game.
M—Dan Newey (Matt Weston), 13:56. M—Sam Seckler (Mitch Amstead), 15:04.
M—Evan Peretti (UA), 74:18.
Saves—Putnam: Kyle Kearney 8. Monument: Kevin Kelly 1.