Photo Gallery | Lenox wins Western Mass. girls soccer semis over Gateway
NORTHAMPTON — The Lenox girls soccer team gave up a late equalizer, but the Millionaires pulled out the game in penalty kicks, advancing past Gateway 4-2 in penalties after a 2-2 final score in the Western Massachusetts Division IV semifinal. The Millionaires last trip to the finals was 2011 and they await the winner of tonight's game between No. 1 Monson and No. 3 Lee.
Lenox goalkeeper Shannon Meisberger led the way with 18 saves in regulation, and held strong during penalty kicks as well.
"I was having a nightmare about penalty kicks for the last two weeks," Meisberger said. "It was really intense. I was just hoping that I'd do well."
During the shootout, the teams alternated two makes and a miss each, before Alessandra Arace put Lenox up 3-2. She beat the Gateway goalie with a well-placed shot to the left of the keeper. Gateway's Katherine Nichols followed with a miss, setting up the go-ahead kick from Shelby Lynch. Taylor Konant's attempt sailed over the goal, ending the game.
Lenox coach Kyle Zinchuk said his players' ability to maintain their composure was the key to the game. He said they struggled to respond well from goals early in the season. However, after Jessica Van Heynigan tied the game in the 13th minute, Arace raced through the middle of the Gators' defense, receiving a pass from Tova Brown and scoring just 10 seconds later.
"The way we responded to that goal says a lot about our team," Zinchuk said. "When we'd give up a goal, girls would have their heads down and girls would start feeling sorry for themselves. Tonight, we gave up the goal and got right back out there and did what we needed to."
The Millionaires struck first as Nicole Gamberoni fed Abby Schilling along the left side of the box. Schilling placed the ball just out of reach of the Gators' keeper for the goal, just two minutes and 16 seconds into the game.
L — Abby Schilling (Nicole Gamberoni), 2:15. G — Jessica Van Heynigen (unassisted), 12:12. L — Alessandra Arace (Tova Brown), 12:22.
G — Crisina Heisecke (unassisted), 77:09.
Saves — L: Shannon Meisberger 18. G: Becca Herman 6. Donna Veil 2.