Strength of schedule likely helped Mount Greylock's boys soccer team reach the No. 2 seed in the Western Mass. Division III tournament.
It also, according to Mounties coach Blair Dils, makes top seed Belchertown a very tough opponent.
"To be honest, it's Belchertown, and then I think the 2 through 8 can beat each other," Dils said Wednesday. "It's wide open. I'm not quite ready to concede the title just yet, but [Belchertown] is a very challenging team."
The Mounties hold the top seed of any Berkshire County team in a Western Mass. boys soccer field, seeded just ahead of No. 3 Monument Mountain. In all, nine county boys soccer teams made the postseason in Divisions I, III and IV.
Pittsfield is the fourth seed in Division I; Wahconah and Hoosac are seventh and eighth, respectively, in D-III; and McCann Tech is third in D-IV, followed by Lenox at No. 6, Mount Everett at No. 9 and Lee at No. 12.
The Mounties and Spartans, if the seeds hold in D-III, would meet in the semifinals. Greylock tied Monument 1-1 on Oct. 14, but dropped a 2-1 decision to the Spartans on Sept. 16.
"I was hoping our strength of schedule would help us out this year, and it looks like it did," Dils said. "Even though we lost to and tied Monument, I thought getting that 11th win might sneak us into that No. 2 seed."
Monument opens with No. 6 seed Cathedral in the quarterfinals. Spartans coach Matt Naventi expected the No. 3 seed, having calculated the D-III draw after Monument's last regular-season game.
"It's just the way it works. It's a goal here and there," he said. "The margin of error between our two teams is not very great. Blair does a really good job scheduling really solid D-I competition."
Regardless of the seed, Naventi thinks the draw is great for Monument, as well as Berkshire County. He likes the Berkshires' chances of getting a team into the final, given that Greylock, Monument and Wahconah are all on one side of the bracket.
He's also looking forward to facing Cathedral again. Cathedral beat a shorthanded Monument earlier in the season, one of the Spartans' three losses.
"It'll be good to see them again with our full squad," Naventi said. "I like that side of the bracket."
Dils said his back four of Jake Foehl, David Majetich, Ian Brink and Taylor Carlough will have to play "almost flawless soccer" for Greylock to make it through the bracket.
"We can't have any mistakes in the final third," he said. "Up front, we need Eric [Hirsch] and Sam [Dils] to get a goal each."
Hoosac will host Athol in the first round, with Wahconah hosting Sabis on the other side of the bracket. The Wahconah-Sabis winner meets Greylock in a semifinal.
Pittsfield coach Andrew Antil is happy his unbeaten Generals have a No. 4 seed, but he knows the track record of previous Berkshire County teams in the D-I field. He's hoping PHS can change that record.
Pittsfield will host No. 5 seed Minnechaug at Kirvin Park at 2 p.m. Monday, with the winner playing either top seed Ludlow, No. 8 Springfield Central or No. 9 Chicopee Comp in a Wednesday semifinal. Pittsfield beat Chaug 3-1 in mid-September.
"The boys deserve to be up with some of the best teams in Western Mass.," Antil said. "I think it's just a matter of who gets the lucky bounces and who's more prepared on game day.
"The goal, obviously, is to upset a few teams. The 4 seed is pretty solid. I don't think that makes us the underdog [on paper]."
McCann Tech will have to overcome a bit of adversity -- albeit a bit that didn't hurt their seed at all. The Hornets suffered their first loss of the season Tuesday, a 3-2 decision to Keefe Tech that knocked McCann out of the state vocational tournament.
"I am hoping it's going to be huge for us," McCann coach Tom Bona said. "I got a lot of good lessons ... and I think we're going to work on the things we didn't do well, and this loss is going to propel us into Western Mass."
The Hornets will face either Lenox or Holyoke Catholic in the quarterfinals. Lenox hosts that first-round matchup. On the other side of the D-IV bracket, Mount Everett travels to Pioneer Valley, with the winner meeting top seed Hopkins Academy; and Lee heads to No. 5 Smith Academy in the first round.
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