Monday November 12, 2012

WESTFIELD -- With one minute to go, everyone at Westfield State's Alumni Field were settling in and preparing to watch Monument Mountain and Belchertown head to overtime in the Western Massachusetts Division II boys soccer title game.

Twelve seconds later, the Monument faithful were stunned on a goal by Alex DeSantis, and the top-seeded Orioles defeated the third-seeded Spartans 1-0 to claim another title.

"They kept pushing and eventually a goal would come," Monument coach Matt Naventi said. "Unfortunately it came in the last minute."

The Spartans were playing defense for much of the game. Monument faced 14 shots at net compared to six it put on the Orioles' goal. Monument keeper Aaron House had six saves, but just couldn't get to the one that sent the Spartans home.

"It's been baby steps the last three years to go from the quarters to the semis last year and just missing in the semis," said Naventi. "This year, getting to the final. I'm really proud of these guys. They're all really hard-working guys. I feel the worst for the six seniors who came so close."

Belchertown won its third straight Western Mass. title.

The Orioles, who beat Monument 2-1 in the regular season, had numerous chances throughout 80 minutes, but none were particularly vexing for House, who had yet to give up a goal in the postseason.

The goal came off a scramble near the left post. DeSantis got the ball, made a move and took a left-footed shot that he said deflected off a defender and past House into the net.

"The ball just fell right to my feet and I took the shot," DeSantis said. "There was a man right on my back and I had my back turned toward the goal, so I just turned to get enough space to get the shot off."

Six minutes earlier, the Spartans had their best scoring chance. Center back Bobby Kinne threw the ball into the box and Belchertown goalie Zach Parsons tried to punch it out of danger. He was successful with that move earlier in the game. Not this time as the ball fell tantalizingly away. The Orioles defense was able to clear the ball before any Monument player could get to it and put it into an empty net.

"It was trying to get [midfielder Lucas Wartella] to hold the ball. They put enough pressure on him where he was either taking a bad first touch or the pressure was so solid that he didn't have the time we were hoping for," said Naventi. "They really shut us down, did a good job on us defensively."

The Spartans forced Parsons to make three saves, only one in the final 40 minutes.

"It was unbelievably frustrating" not to capitalize on chances, said Wartella. "It was a great season. I'm happy we got this far. We just didn't get as far as we wanted to."

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Belchertown 1, Monument 0

Monument 0 0 -- 0

Belchertown 0 1 -- 1

Second Half

Bel--Alex DeSantis (UA), 79:12.

Saves -- MM: Aaron House 6. Bel: Zach Parsons 3.