Having a speedy defender on the back end of a defense can take the most skilled opposing forward out of the game.
For Monument Mountain, center back Connor Storti helped anchor the Spartans' defense with his blazing speed, earning him the title of All-Eagle MVP.
Storti, along with fellow All-Eagle defender Bobby Kinne led the Spartans to the Western Massachusetts Division III semifinals, where they lost to Mount Greylock in penalty kicks.
Storti said losing in penalty kicks was a tough way to end his career.
"There's some calls that didn't go our way at the end of the game, but there's nothing you can really do about it," he said.
Overall, the pair of Storti and Kinne worked well together all season for the Spartans, but the road to being named All-Eagle MVP started after Storti's sophomore year.
Monument coach Matt Naventi switched Storti from outside to center back, and Storti began showing his potential.
Naventi said Storti improved at playing balls at his feet, as well as passing.
Greylock coach Blair Dils said, a lot of what Storti does on the field does not show up on the stat sheet, but if you watch the film, he's always in the right place at the right time, ready to take the other team's best forward out of the game.
"He takes out your best scorer," Dils said. "He can mark so well, and what ends up happening is that you have to find other alternatives.
"He's not in the film often because the guy he's marking has to get rid of the ball so quickly, or he steals it and moves the ball so well. It's nice to see a defensive player rewarded. He had such as stellar career back there."
Storti said the highlight of his season was scoring the eventual game-winning goal against Lenox -- it was the first goal of his career. The goal put Monument up 2-0. The Spartans went on to win 2-1.
Scoring the goal was one highlight in his career, and the defender said his battles against Taconic forward Dom Nda are something that he's going to remember as well.
He said Nda was one of the fastest forwards he faced in the county, and looked forward to their matchups.
In the end, Storti said he'll remember the time spent with his team.
"The whole aspect of the team," he said. "Growing together as the season progressed and how we started to work well together."
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