McCann Tech boys soccer team downed by PVCA

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NORTH ADAMS — There has been very little to separate the McCann Tech and Pioneer Valley Christian Academy boys soccer teams this season. Their first match Sept. 15 ended in a scoreless draw, but Thursday afternoon at McCann, the Eagles escaped with a 1-0 decision over the Hornets.

Cameron Belmer scored the winner, running onto a pass from Emil Tumasyan over the top of the McCann defense and poking the ball home in the 14th minute. Belmer's run was toeing the line between being onside or offside, but when the ball hit the back of the net and there was no whistle, the Eagles had all the edge they would need.

"They have some good forwards," McCann coach Tom Bona said. "They are a good team; they had the same record as us coming in. They got a lucky break. I'm not going to say it's a bad call, because it doesn't matter. They broke through the middle and got that shot. We missed one at the end. They are a good team. We knew we were going to be in a battle."

From there, the game devolved into a series of long balls booted between the two defenses. But with McCann (8-3-1, 2-3-1 Bi-County) pressing harder and harder throughout the second half, Pioneer Valley (9-2-1, 3-2-1) held firm enough to earn the win.

"We were able to get some shots on goal, and we were able to really limit their good scoring opportunities," Pioneer Valley coach Chris Andre said. "And we were really just able to hold on in the last couple minutes of the game when they pressed us."

Several Hornets pressed the issue in the second half. Josh Favre put a shot just over the crossbar with less than 14 minutes to play; Nicholas LaForest sliced a shot wide when given space at the top of the 18-yard box, and Ryan Charon saw his team's best chance go just wide of the post with 6 minutes to go.

Bona noted that the energy and commitment his team showed in the second half was missing for part of the first half.

"We started out quick in the first half, and when they got the goal [we] let up, and they know it. We played 10 minutes of that first half, then played 40 in the second."

"That's why we really needed to push them in the first half. We would have had a better shot to win this one."

With another 10 minutes, the Hornets might have gotten the equalizer. That's why Andre was thrilled to hear the final horn blow.

"I think we were pretty organized. We held onto the ball a little too long when we won it; I was looking just to play the ball to the corner flags," Andre said of the late flurry. "We were somewhat successful with that, but we couldn't get the ball off of our feet quick enough to do it sometimes."

The loss throws a wrench in McCann's quest for a league title, with undefeated Westfield Tech sporting a 5-0-1 league mark. The season, though, is far from over for the Hornets. McCann needs two more wins to qualify for the Western Mass. tournament, and the Hornets also have another postseason tournament to play for — the small school state vocational tournament.

"Our goal is Western Mass.," Bona said. "And I said, my biggest goal is [the vocational tournament]. We want to win state voc. We are a voc school; we are playing a lot of schools that aren't. That's our tournament. McCann's won it twice. And I told them, you have to keep fighting and keep working hard at practice, because we still have a chance. If we get in the tournament, that's the big thing.

It's like the wild card in baseball — get in, and you can still win."

The Hornets will continue their march toward the postseason Monday with a game at Ware.

———

PVCA     1     0          0

McCann     0     0          0

First half

PVCA — Cameron Belmer (Emil Tumasyan), 13:45.

Saves — PVCA: Matt Porter 7. MT: Devon Griswold 5.

Reach Geoff Smith at 413-496-6254 or @GSmith_Eagle.


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