Photo Gallery | Mount Greylock tops Wahconah to win league title
DALTON — The finish might have been tighter than Mount Greylock would have liked, but in the end the result was the same as it has been over the last four seasons — the Mounties are the Berkshire County girls lacrosse champions.
Greylock (15-3, 11-1 Berkshire League) wrapped up its fourth consecutive league crown with a 10-8 win over Wahconah on Monday night, and in the process took the season series 2-1 against their rival.
The Mounties got the win on the back of a strong start to the second half. Up 6-5 after the first, the Mounties came out in the second half and scored the first four goals to build up a 10-5 lead — enough of a cushion to absorb a late Warriors charge for the decision.
"It was pretty stressful," Mount Greylock sophomore Emma Polumbo said of seeing out the win. "Definitely when they started to get those goals and started to make the comeback, we started to lose it a little bit and started to make fouls we shouldn't have made, myself included.
"But, I think we held it together. We knew there were only a couple of minutes left and we needed the ball back, and that was important."
Out of halftime, Sarah Stripp scored inside the first minute to make it 7-5, then Lauren Aliberti added a pair and Polumbo scored her third of the day to make it 10-5 with 14:04 remaining.
That cushion was important. With a bit of a lull in the action, Wahconah finally woke up with 8:23 to go when Emmy Cote scored her fourth and final goal for the Warriors (15-4, 9-2) to make it 10-6.
Perin Genaway then capped a hat trick to make it 10-7 with 6:26 to go. Greylock then put itself in a bad position when Polumbo was shown a yellow card, which the Warriors capitalized on with a goal through Jordan Budaj.
That, though, was as close as the Warriors would get.
Greylock was shown another yellow card — the team's third of the half — but instead of conceding, Caroline Flynn came up with a key interception to protect goalie Julia Whitney, and a pair of yellow cards against Wahconah helped seal the deal.
"That was huge," Greylock coach Lindsey von Holtz said of Flynn's interception, "and the part that makes it more impressive is we've done that maybe three times this year, and turned it over the first pass away. Caroline was able to maintain possession and able to get it down the field. Not only the interception, but taking care of it and not just throwing it away afterwards was huge. Once we were down [in our end], we were relatively calm."
Wahconah got off on the right foot to open the game when Genaway scored with 2:18 gone in the contest, but a pair of Greylock goals put the Mounties up for good. Wahconah tied the score at 2-2, but could not get back over the hump.
Cote struck with 17 seconds left in the first half to cut the deficit to one, 6-5, going into the break, but the Mounties emerged and went on the aforementioned run to seize control for good.
"I liked that we were winning the 50/50 balls and taking care of the ball," von Holtz said of the start of the second half. "One of the things I said to them at the end of the game was it's OK to be up by 5. We keep getting up by 5 and then letting people come back. I think, mentally, they let down a little bit when you think you're going to win. With a team like this, you can't. They can come back very quickly as it showed."
The win marks Greylock's fourth league title since the Berkshire County league was formed five years ago. Lee won the inaugural title in 2012.
For players and coach alike, this one felt particularly special after the Warriors handed the Mounties a loss two weeks ago.
"I think it gives us a little step up," Polumbo said. "Our confidence had kind of dropped a little bit after a few of losses in the past couple of weeks. We thought, might as well try to end the season with a win and give us a little more confidence going into the tournament."
"The county championship became more important when we lost to Wahconah the second time," von Holtz admitted. "Suddenly, it was wait a second, we can lose the county championship, that's an option, if you don't win the next game. I think it became important this year again."
Julia Whitney made six saves in the win, including a couple that stymied Wahconah's chances in the second half. Katie Bachli had 10 in the loss.
Greylock finished its regular season in the win. Wahconah has one more game — today against Lee — before the girls lacrosse playoff seeding meeting on Friday morning.
Mount Greylock goals — Emma Polumbo 3, Caroline Flynn 3, Lauren Aliberti 2, Sarah Stripp 2. Mount Greylock assists — Polumbo 1.
Wahconah goals — Emmy Cote 4, Perin Genaway 3, Jordan Budaj 1. Wahconah assists — Hannah Rueger 1, Kenna McIlquham 2.
Saves — MG: Julia Whitney 6. W: Katie Bachli 10.