GREAT BARRINGTON — With Chicopee bearing down on goal, Monument Mountain boys lacrosse goalie Jonah Swotes came up with a pair of momentum-killing saves, allowing his Spartans to recover and hang on for a 10-7 win on Monday.
Monument led 7-2 at halftime, but in the third, the Pacers pulled three goals back to make it 7-5 heading into the final stanza. Just over a minute into the fourth, Josh Provost scored to trim the deficit to one goal.
That's when Swotes stepped up and had enough.
Facing two shots from near point-blank range, the senior stonewalled the Pacers and pushed the momentum back his team's way. Goals by Joe LaBrasca, Connor Parkinson and Jake Parkinson put Monument (5-2) back up by four to help ice the game.
"As a senior, being in a lot of close games, I've kind of taught myself I can't get into their swing, I can't let them dictate the game," Swotes said. "I try to be a momentum-creator for my team, so I certainly hope those two saves got my team pumped up. Once we got control back, we weren't letting go."
The game was a contest of two halves up until Swotes' stops. The senior had 13 in the game, and his seven in the first half helped Monument build up a five-goal lead at the break. The Spartans scored the first two goals of the game, then after Chicopee's Brady Wilson opened his team's account, a tic-tac-toe sequence of passing from Homer Winston to Jake Parkinson to Matt DiSilva put Monument in command.
Scoring slowed in the second quarter, but at the break the game had an inevitable feeling to it.
"I think [we] thought [we] were going to show up here and things were going to play," Chicopee coach Bill Scott said. "They have to play the game, they have to play hard, and they discovered that. In order to have success, you have to play hard on every possession. Credit to Monument Mountain, we knew they were good."
Neither team scored over the first eight minutes of the second half, but then Dan Vazquez scored a goal and assisted on another in a two-minute span to get the Pacers within three. Mike Doyle converted on his second goal to make it 7-5, and a minute into the fourth Josh Provost struck to make it 7-6.
"There were a lot of turnovers," Monument coach Rob Leary said of Chicopee's comeback bid. "We were forcing the ball a little too much. We were trying to go into too much pressure and they were creating good pressure and getting turnovers out of it We are not a deep team at midfield, so it makes it a little hard when we get into that big transition game to keep the speed and keep them running for the full four quarters we have to play."
But just when it seemed like Chicopee was going to level things up, Swotes came to the rescue. His first save was on Josh Rogowski, the second on Vazquez. The saves re-energized his team.
"Seeing Jonah make those saves in net was just huge for us to get back the momentum we had in the first half," Connor Parkinson said. "It helped us get the win."
Connor Parkinson finished with four goals, while Jake Parkinson had a goal and five assists. Chicopee goaltender Zack Sham had six saves in the loss.
The win inches Monument closer to its first-ever postseason bid. Now just three wins away from securing a playoff spot, Leary noted the win was impressive because of the mettle his team had to show.
"I think it is good to win the tough games, the close games. Getting some of these, battling, we've fought for some really tough wins this year, and I think that builds the character of a team where they can play with a little bit of pressure," Leary said, "realize that a team can come back on you, but you can still take that back, get the momentum back and swing the game back into your favor."
The Spartans return to action on Wednesday at Pittsfield.
Chicopee goals — Mike Doyle 2, Josh Provost 2, Dan Vazquez 1, Josh Rogowski 1, Brady Wilson 1. Chicopee assists — Vazquez 2, Rogowski 1, Julio Morales 1.
Monument Mountain goals — Connor Parkinson 4, Matt DiSilva 2, Joe LaBrasca 2, Jake Parkinson 1, Homer Winston 1. Monument assists — J. Parkinson 5, DiSilva 1, LaBrasca 1, Winston 1, C. Parkinson 1.
Saves — C: Zack Sham 6. MM: Jonah Swotes 13.
Contact Geoff Smith at 413-496-6254