LENOX >> On a hot, humid day, the Lenox boys soccer team found itself in an early deficit to Division I powerhouse Minnechaug. The Millionaires kept the pressure on throughout, but they could not break through — leading to a 4-0 loss on Saturday at home.
Lenox entered the match on a two-game winning streak, out-scoring its opponents by a 17-0 margin, but Brendan Plumb put the Falcons on the board with a penalty kick goal in the fifth minute. Plumb struck the ball well, putting it just out of the reach of keeper Matt Tibbetts.
"Usually on PKs I decide right before he shoots where I'm going to go," Tibbetts said. "I just guessed the wrong way and he placed it well. Nothing I was really going to do."
After the goal, the teams played a back-and-forth half of soccer. Minnechaug keeper David Walbridge always seemed to be in the right place to knock the ball away for the Falcons. He blocked a hard shot from Alec Jordan in the eighth minute, and just got a hand on a ball from Nic Baruch that looked to be heading into the right side of the goal in the 30th minute.
Even with the first-half shot totals being almost even — the Falcons held a 9-8 advantage — the Millionaires could not capitalize. They put seven more shots on goal in the second half, but Plumb scored on a long shot off a rebound in the 49th minute to put the game out of reach.
"Honestly, we kept ourselves off the scoreboard," Baruch said. "We've just got to work better on finishing. We had a lot of opportunities to capitalize, but we just fell short.
"Especially in the first half, we had numerous occasions to score. ... It's those little moments that we have to capitalize on and work on."
Lenox's best chance to score may have came in the 43rd minute, when Jordan gathered the ball off a deflected free kick and shot toward the top left corner of the goal. The shot looked to be good, but Walbridge leapt and snagged it out of the air. A couple minutes later, Lenox's Matt Heim had the team's top defensive play, as Tibbetts was caught away from the goal and a Minnechaug player sent the ball right toward the net, but Heim came streaking in front of the goal to clear the sure score out of the area.
Mike Rita scored the final two goals for Minnechaug.
Throughout the game Lenox players dealt with cramping in the legs and calfs. Lenox coach David Pugh said the fatigue becomes a factor when playing a team with a deep bench such as Minnechaug. He added that despite the loss, there are plenty of positives to take away from playing a quality Falcons team.
"On a hot, muggy day, we showed heart throughout the game," he said. "We played a good, solid 60, 70 minutes of soccer today. I think we out-possessed them, but they just did a better job of finishing in the final third. That was the difference."
M — Brendan Plumb (penalty kick), 3:19.
M — Plumb (unassisted), 48:20.
M — Mike Rita (Jeffrey Marceau), 68:15.
M — Rita (unassisted), 73:53.
Saves — M: David Walbridge 9. Matt Tibbetts 14.
Contact Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252