SHEFFIELD — With fewer than 10 minutes remaining in the first half against Ware yesterday, the Mount Everett boys soccer team looked as if it may head into halftime with only a one-goal lead in the first round of the Western Massachusetts Division IV tournament.
The fifth-seeded Eagles deserved to have a bigger advantage, though, based on the way the first half had gone. Luckily for the Eagles, they managed to score twice in the final 10 minutes of the half en route to a three-goal lead and an eventual 4-0 victory over 12th-seeded Ware.
Goals from Dan Litchfield, Matt Morehouse and Ellis Waldman, in addition to a Ware own goal, led the way for Mount Everett. The Eagles, who received assists from Cavan Brady and Brendan Dempsey, will play fourth-seeded Granby on the road on Friday at 2 p.m. in the quarterfinal round.
"The hardest part with any tournament game is you have to put them in the back of the net so you don't allow teams to hang around," Mount Everett coach Josh King said. "Because when you allow teams to hang around, you give them the opportunity to score."
Mount Everett got on the board in the fifth minute when a corner kick from Brady eventually found its way into the back of the net for an own goal, charged against Ware. Over 25 minutes later, though, the Eagles had not doubled their lead despite controlling the game.
"Controlling that midfield gives you better chances to score," King said. "It gives you better opportunities to maintain possession. If you're able to control their midfield and control your own, it gives you a better chance."
That chance came in the 31st minute when Litchfield scored off an assist from Brady. The Ware goalkeeper's goal kick was headed forward by Brady in front of the middle of the field, where it went to Litchfield, who scored after getting behind the defense.
"I expect my forwards to play me the ball when I'm running up," Litchfield said. "They just know when to pass it."
With only 39 seconds remaining in the first half, Morehouse gave the Eagles a 3-0 advantage when he scored off a dish from Dempsey. Waldman closed the scoring when he put one in the back of the net with 8:17 remaining in the second half.
Mount Everett goalie Ryan Meyer finished with four saves, including an incredible diving stop with 11:30 remaining in the game. That save allowed him to keep his shutout intact.
M—own goal, 4:54. M—Dan Litchfield (Cavan Brady), 30:46. M—Matt Morehouse (Brendan Dempsey), 39:21.
M—Ellis Waldman (UA), 71:43.
Saves—Ware: Kyle Hill 6. Mount Everett: Ryan Meyer 4.