Lenox boys soccer team thumps PVCA, 7-0, to advance to Western Massachusetts Division IV semifinals
LENOX — The Lenox boys soccer team knows where it wants to go this postseason, and on a rainy Monday night it took the first step in that direction with a 7-0 thumping of Pioneer Valley Christian Academy in the quarterfinals of the Western Massachusetts Division IV tournament.
The second-seeded Millionaires (11-5-3) got a goal from Ian Laurin a minute into the contest, then added three more in the first half to take complete command.
In the second half, Lenox sucked any remaining life in the game right out with three goals in just over six minutes, with Mike Abdalla's third of the night coming just 17 seconds into the frame.
With the game decided early, Lenox coach Matt Cote got to rest his starters for a large swath of the second half as the team turns its sights to a semifinal date against sixth-seeded Pioneer. That game will be on Wednesday at Holyoke High School at 7 p.m.
"Yeah, traditionally, first-round games kind of go that way," Cote said after his team's first game of the sectional tournament. "So, for our own part, we looked as good as we could look, I thought. Moved the ball pretty well. I think we'll forget about this game pretty quickly and just set our sights on Wednesday or Thursday."
Abdalla had the highlight day in a game that featured contributions from all over the pitch. Abdalla scored his first just over six minutes into the game, doubled it up by converting on a pass from Keveen Delgado in the 11th minute, then took another Delgado pass in the opening exchanges of the second half to cap his night.
"Any time any of us are scoring, it means the rest of us will continue to play well, get assists, get goals, play balls," Lenox senior Nic Baruch said. "We usually, when one of us is playing good, we use that energy and we play better. I'm so proud of Mike, he played really well today. Ian played well, all of us played well. Even the subs, the subs worked their butts off."
And while the Lenox offense was free-wheeling its way through the cold and rainy evening, the Lenox defense kept Matt Tibbetts from having to do much of anything in the first half. Tibbetts eventually gave way to Jacob Munch, who only had to make two relatively comfortable saves in the second half.
"Being able to rest your starters in a quarterfinal match is huge," Cote said. "I mean, goodness gracious, some teams don't have that luxury. Today, we had the luxury. So it's really nice to be able to get the guys on the bench, have them chill. Put it this way: the kid who had a nagging injury where you have to play all 80 minutes, you can put them over the edge. Today, I didn't have to do that."
In addition to the three from Abdalla and Laurin's opener, Baruch scored the fourth goal of the first half, then Nick Monteleone scored on a beautiful individual effort — dribbling through the heart of the Eagles' defense before shooting — before Andre Collins wrapped the scoring up in the 47th minute.
Baruch said sitting out the second half of his final home game was strange at first, but all of the starters enjoyed getting some critical rest ahead of the semifinals.
"At first, I was a little bummed out we got subbed out, but once I realized it's really cold and that injuries are prone in cold weather, especially since we had a high score line, I didn't really feel like the starters needed to be playing any more," Baruch said. "I liked seeing the subs get their play time in and improving. I feel like if we don't have our subs good, then when one of us may get injured — like Alec [Jordan], he's really injured today — we need them to step up and fill that spot, and I think they can absolutely do that."
Cote did send his seniors back out for the final five minutes of the game, giving the group that's brought Lenox to two straight Western Mass. finals one last jaunt on their home field.
"That was fun," Baruch said. "That was really fun."
PVCA 0 0 — 0
Lenox 4 3 — 7
L — Ian Laurin (Nic Baruch), 1:00. L — Mike Abdalla (unassisted), 6:07. L — Abdalla (Keveen Delgado), 10:53. L — Baruch (Harrison Keator), 35:19.
L — Abdalla (Delgado), 40:17. L — Nick Monteleone (UA), 44:39. L — Andre Collins (Laurin), 46:26.
Saves — PVCA: Matt Porter 8. L: Matt Tibbetts 0 (40), Jacob Munch 2 (40).
Geoff Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @GSmith_Eagle on Twitter and 413-496-6254.
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