Monument Mountain boys soccer team strikes first, last to top Lenox 3-1
Editor's note: This story was updated to reflect a change on the assist for the Lenox goal.LENOX — The Monument Mountain boys soccer team came into Lenox on Monday with a game plan to try and slow down the Millionaires. That plan worked in a 3-1 victory underneath an unusually warm late September sun.
The Spartans (3-1-1, 2-0-0 Berkshire North) put home two goals in the first half to take command of the contest, then after Nic Baruch halved the deficit for Lenox (4-2-1, 1-2-0) to start the second stanza, Ben Badurski scored an insurance goal midway through the half to send the Spartans home happy, and the Millionaires home with their second straight conference loss.
"It's a really big step in the right direction for us," said Monument forward Noel Powell, who assisted on the first and third goals. "We came in with the right mentality, we played with a sense of urgency. We were a little frantic at times, but for the most part we held our own."
Nate Lacombe gave the Spartans the lead just over five minutes into the contest. On a goal kick by Kevin Kelly up the field, Powell got on the ball, then played a nice diagonal pass through to Lacombe, who was able to beat Matt Tibbetts across the face of Tibbetts' goal to get the Spartans rolling.
"I would say, offensively, most things went pretty right," Lenox coach Matt Cote said of the loss. "Defensively, I think, if there is one thing I could point at, it's our lack of anticipation on the weak side. They sent several dangerous diagonal balls in the air to the weak side, which we either didn't track at all, or were simply too late tracking. The first goal was a result of exactly that."
Monument's second goal also came through the air. On a direct kick from near midfield, the ball missed the outstretched leg of a Monument player and took a bounce off the ground before Tristan Alston was able to get his foot on it and steer it past Tibbetts.
In the second half, the Millionaires came out on the front foot and a mistake at the back inside the first minute gave Nic Baruch a golden opportunity, but the senior sent his shot just wide of the right post. Baruch, though, kept pressing and finally got his Millionaires on the board with 34:20 left in the game. Harrison Keator set Baruch up for the goal.
But just when it seemed like the momentum was shifting in favor of the home team, Badurski took a pass from Powell on the right side of the box, hit his shot back across the face of goal and popped it off the left goalpost and in.
Monument coach Matt Naventi said the start of the second half was a good test for his team.
"I like how they gave [the goal] up, they struggled for a couple of minutes, but we didn't need to call a timeout, we didn't need to regroup, they kind of organized on their own," Naventi said.
Lenox had several more opportunities to cut into the deficit as the game wore on, but couldn't break down Kelly's goal again. Alston helped his goalie out by clearing a shot from Noah Kalischer-Coggins off the line, then Alec Jordan had a header on a free kick saved well by Kelly in the closing stages.
"We had a plan going into the game and everyone stuck with it," Naventi said. "That's the big thing. Even if we didn't get the result we wanted to, to make sure that the guys are really committed to playing the way we wanted them to play [is important]."
Both teams continue league play on Thursday. The Spartans will head to Pittsfield to face the Generals at Kirvin Park — who beat Lenox at the end of last week — while the Millionaires head up to Williamstown to face Mount Greylock.
For Cote, back-to-back losses aren't an easy thing to swallow, but the first-year coach was happy with how his team picked themselves up after the Pittsfield loss.
"I don't think there's any cause for alarm for us," Cote said. "It's unfortunate that we lost two in a row, but their spirits seem to be OK, seem to be higher than against PHS the other night where we lost a heartbreaker. I think there are a lot of positives from this."
Naventi, meanwhile, liked the tuneup at Lenox ahead of the PHS game.
"We are ready for it. This is what we were looking for, to get a good tuneup tonight against a very good squad," Naventi said. "When Lenox figures it out and get those guys rolling together, they are going to be unstoppable, they really are, and they are going to be a tough team to beat next time we play them. Just to have that experience going into [Pittsfield] is going to be important for this week."
Monument 2 1 — 3
Lenox 0 1 — 1
MM — Nate Lacombe (Noel Powell), 5:32. MM — Tristan Alston (Unassisted), 22:26.
L — Nic Baruch (Harrison Keator), 45:40. MM — Ben Badurski (Powell), 59:53.
Saves — MM: Kevin Kelly 4. L — Matt Tibbetts 3.
Reach Geoff Smith at 413-496-6254 or @GSmith_Eagle.
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