CHICOPEE — The Monument Mountain girls soccer team forced No. 1 Granby to play a different style Wednesday in the Western Mass. Division III semifinals.
The Rams, though, proved their status by getting through it.
The No. 5 Spartans played a resilient brand of defense at Szot Park to keep a Granby team that has scored two or more goals in all but two games this season in check, but midway through the second half Trystin Burger unlocked the Spartan defense on a pass to Julia Frappier that proved the difference in a 1-0 decision.
In a game that featured stout defense but just enough chances to keep the crowd engaged, Frappier's finish proved that finishing is the most important part of attacking.
"I'm happy with the team," Monument coach Jess Platt said. "[Just] disappointed with the result."
From the start, the trading of possession and chances started. Monument came out on the front foot, and Aubrey Blanchard put a shot wide. Granby came back, and a shot from Burger had to be tipped by Monument goalie Emily Shaw to prevent an opener. Throughout the rest of the first 40, both teams saw chances a touch away from finishing.
"We knew coming in that Monument was going to be a tough team," Granby coach Jessica Boardway said. "Berkshire teams are always tough, a little bit of a surprise for us."
In the second half the Rams started applying more pressure with increased possession in the midfield, but before they could get to Frappier's goal the side had to survive Zufan Bazzano just missing on a cross from Blanchard that would have opened the scoring.
"We were moving the ball well," Platt said. "We just had that will in the offensive third of not being able to get that last step."
When Granby's golden chance finally came, Burger and Frappier made sure it didn't go to waste. Burger started the play with a sliding through ball that went through the Monument defense, then Frappier brought the ball under control and pushed her shot back across the goal and into the net.
"That's exactly what you want to see [as a coach]," Boardway said. "We created that opportunity playing possession, playing the ball out of the midfield. It really helped us break the ice."
Monument didn't shy away from the deficit and forced Granby to sweat out the remaining minutes, but ultimately the Rams finished celebrating when the whistle blew.
Shaw finished with six saves, Brooklyn Baran finished with three saves.
Granby now advances to play the winner of the Wahconah/Southwick game, being played today in West Springfield. Monument finishes the season with a 12-7 record.
G—Frappier (Burger), 21:49.
Saves — G: Baran 3. M: Shaw 6