Girls soccer: Western Mass seeds released, Wahconah to defend title

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GRANBY — The only defending Western Massachusetts champion from Berkshire County in boys or girls soccer is the Wahconah girls squad.

Seeded second in Western Mass Division III in 2015, the Warriors earned a bye in their title defense to the quarterfinal round of this year's tournament after the seeds were released Monday at Granby Jr./Sr. High School. Wahconah (14-3-1) will host the winner of seventh-seeded Mahar and 10th-seeded Putnam in the quarterfinals. The Warriors defeated South Hadley, Sabis and Granby en route to last year's crown.

"We're a different team this year," Wahconah coach Pat West said. "It's just a brand new year. We do know there are an awful lot of good teams in the tournament. It would have been nicer to be [No.] 1, but we knew it wasn't going to happen based on the Walker 2.0. So we are where we are."

Monument Mountain was the only other Berkshire County squad in the 10-team Western Mass Division III tournament. The Spartans (11-6), seeded fifth, will play fourth-seeded Palmer in the quarterfinals.

Pittsfield, seeded eighth in the 10-team Western Mass Division I bracket, is the only girls squad set to play a game in the first round. The Generals (12-6), who have lost four games in a row, will host ninth-seeded Holyoke on Thursday at 3 p.m. Winner of that game will travel to play top-seeded Ludlow in the quarterfinals.

"We're looking forward to the home game," Pittsfield coach Andy Waluszko said. "We had a rough stretch, lost a few in a row. We played seven games in two weeks or something, so the girls were beat and you have some injuries. But this gives us a break to recoup. And the home game, I'm glad we got a home game."

In the 10-team Western Mass Division IV tournament, Berkshire County will have four teams. Lenox is the highest seed, earning the number two spot. The Millionaires (11-4-3) will host the winner of seventh-seeded Smith Academy and 10th-seeded Pathfinder in the quarterfinals.

Should it advance from there, Lenox would play third-seeded Gateway or sixth-seeded Mount Everett. The Millionaires lost to the Gators earlier in the season.

"I think first and foremost our goal this season was to do what we needed to do to get into the tournament," Lenox coach Kyle Zinchuk said. "One of our goals was to make the tournament and then we wanted to win the South. If that happened, we were hoping for an improved seed in the process (from last season).

"Smith is a very solid side," Zinchuk added. "We'll take it one game at a time, we have to focus on that game first and foremost. And then it would be nice to play Gateway or Everett in that next round, should we get there."

There will be an all-Berkshire County matchup in the quarterfinals as well, as fourth-seeded Lee (8-8-2) will host fifth-seeded McCann Tech (14-3-1). Finally, sixth-seeded Mount Everett (11-5-1) will play against third-seeded Gateway on the road in the quarterfinals. The Wildcats, Hornets and Eagles all have byes through the first round.

The first round will be played on Thursday with quarterfinal matchups set for either Saturday or Sunday. The girls semifinal round is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 11 with sectional finals to be completed by Saturday, Nov. 14. The state semifinals will be played on Wednesday, Nov. 18 with the state championships on Saturday, Nov. 21.

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Western Mass Tournament Seeds

Division I: 1-Ludlow, 2-Minnechaug, 3-West Springfield, 4-Chicopee, 5-East Longmeadow, 6-Northampton, 7-Amherst, 8-Pittsfield, 9-Holyoke, 10-Agawam.

Division III: 1-Granby, 2-Wahconah, 3-Southwick, 4-Palmer, 5-Monument Mountain, 6-South Hadley, 7-Mahar, 8-Athol, 9-Renaissance, 10-Putnam.

Division IV: 1-Monson, 2-Lenox, 3-Gateway, 4-Lee, 5-McCann Tech, 6-Mount Everett, 7-Smith Academy, 8-Smith Vocational, 9-Hampden Charter, 10-Pathfinder.


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