Wednesday October 31, 2012

It's going to be another long day for Berkshire County's soccer coaches.

For the second straight year, extreme weather has left the postseason hopes of some county teams in the hands of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. Teams that were a game away from postseason qualification and saw scheduled contests wiped out by Superstorm Sandy have had to request a waiver from the state's governing body for high school athletics. The deadline to complete the regular season was Tuesday evening.

The Wahconah boys and both Lee soccer teams are in that situation. The Warriors needed two points while the Wildcat girls were just a point shy. The Lee boys are are three points short with two games left unplayed.

"We're going to take each request on its merit and make a determination," said Jonathan Cavallo, the Western Massachusetts soccer tournament director. "My sense is [the] Wahconah [boys] and Lee [girls] will be allowed into the tournament. ... They weren't able to complete their schedule. They had no school, therefore we will make every attempt to allow them to continue their season by granting them entry to the tournament."

The fate of those schools will be decided today at the Western Mass. seed meeting, set for 1 p.m. at Granby High School. The MIAA sent out an email Tuesday asking schools to apply for waivers for both soccer and volleyball.

The association is asking for details from both schools on why games were canceled. Monument AD Paul Gibbons, who will be at today's meeting as a member of the state soccer committee, said the state of emergency declaration from Gov. Deval Patrick and school closings made it tough to play games this week. That will be taken into account.

Lee girls coach Lauren Finnegan said she knew it was possible her team could have their final game wiped out. That made a tie against Wahconah on Sunday a huge result, leaving the Wildcats just a single point away from Western Mass.

"I feel like we have a better chance than had we lost," she said. "I think getting in with one point is a lot easier than sitting here and going, ‘we needed two.' I'd be lying if I said my computer won't be on the MIAA website all morning long."

The Mount Everett boys soccer team was in the same boat a year ago when a rare October snow storm wiped out much of the final days of the soccer season. Eagles coach and athletic director Jesse Carpenter filed a waiver and was let into the tournament. Everett went on to reach the Division III semifinals.

"As a coach, we were dying," Carpenter said. "Everyone sets the same goal, to make the Western Mass. tournament. For the season to end with you not being abe to play your last game, it'd be heartbreaking."

Carpenter said he thinks the MIAA wants to make sure schools attempted to play games when reviewing waivers. The Lee boys lost two games -- against Mount Everett and Drury -- because of Sandy. Coach Matt Kollmer's team sits at 6-7-3, three points out of the playoffs.

"We're just hoping for the best," Kollmer said. "I think we've had a good season. We had two winnable games left. We're only a couple points out. I think we can get in. I think we can do well if we get there. It's just a whole lot of ‘Please God, let this work out.' "

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