Mount Everett boys soccer team holds on for 3-2 win over Drury
NORTH ADAMS — Playing for the third time this season, the Mount Everett and Drury boys soccer teams once again played to a one-goal decision. But for the first time in 2017, it was the Eagles that emerged victorious, clinging on for a 3-2 victory over the Blue Devils.
Drury won the first pair of games — the Berkshire South contests — 2-1 and 1-0, with the 1-0 game coming at Mount Everett at the beginning of October. What switched on Friday?
"I think [my guys] were a little more motivated," Mount Everett coach Josh King said. "Since we played Lenox [last] Wednesday, we've been playing some better soccer overall. The two games we played them, it was a 2-1 game the first time and then a 1-0 game down our place. They compete. Our guys obviously were able to step to the challenge today, which was good."
Brendan Dempsey was the danger man for Mount Everett (9-2-2), scoring the first two Eagles goals before setting up Anthony Lupiani for the winner early in the second half.
Dempsey got his team off on the right foot in the opening 10 minutes of the game, then with 12 minutes, 40 seconds left in the first half, Dempsey chipped the ball over the Drury goalkeeper, rounded him and smashed the ball into the net before a Drury defender could recover to clear.
Drury pulled a goal back with five seconds to go until halftime, with Max Daugherty getting on the end of a long pass in the Mount Everett box before coolly finishing to give the Blue Devils (11-7) life going into the second half.
"Mount Everett is a very good team and we knew going in it would be a tough battle," Drury coach John Jacobbe said. "It's a great battle to get ready for the tournament. Down 2-0, to get a goal right before halftime, we were hoping that would be the spark, but then they got the third goal."
Said goal came with 33:17 to play. Dempsey started the sequence on the right wing, playing the ball centrally to Lupiani. Lupiani then hooked his run wide to the left and into the Drury 18-yard box, before placing his shot back across the face of goal to make it 3-1.
"He's been playing really well," King said of Dempsey. "He's been the catalyst up top. When he does get the ball, he usually turns to finish and he creates absolute havoc sometimes on defenses, and they have to be aware of him at all times. He's definitely improved as the season has progressed, which is good, because you want to be playing your best soccer come next week."
Before the Eagles could make the long bus ride back to Sheffield, though, they had to weather a furious Drury rally.
The Blue Devils steadily increased the pressure on the Eagles as the game wore on. Patrick Silk had to be aware of his surroundings five minutes after his team went up 3-1, as he rushed off his line to beat Reece Racette to a ball in the box, then pawed away a Jon Boland shot.
Drury eventually got on the board again with 12:25 to go. Racette drew a penalty after being hauled down in the box, then Boland stepped up to the penalty spot and buried his shot into the right corner.
Connor Clark came close to equalizing the game shortly after the penalty. Taking a free kick, Clark curled an effort just around the post and out of play.
Jimmy Gulotta helped make sure the game ended with a Mount Everett win in the closing moments of the game, stretching his leg out to poke a pass away from Racette as Racette nearly found himself free in a dangerous position.
King noted that the end of the second half was nervy for his team, but Gulotta, Cavan Brady and the rest of the defense proved to be up to the task.
"For us to withhold that defensive pressure, it's good for them, it's good confidence," King said. "These guys definitely earned the win today."
Mount Everett has one game remaining before the Western Massachusetts Division IV tournament, a Monday game at Gateway. Drury, meanwhile, wrapped up the regular season on Friday, and now turns its sights to the D-IV tournament. While going into the postseason with a pair of losses — Drury fell to Lenox on Wednesday — isn't a perfect formula, Jacobbe noted the most important statistic for any playoff-bound team.
"We ended the year not as good as we would have liked, but that's all gone right now. It doesn't matter, we're all 0-0.
"When you go in the tournament, you're 0-0, and we haven't played our best soccer, but the potential is there and we have a week to straighten it out."
Everett 2 1 — 3
Drury 1 1 — 2
ME — Brendan Dempsey (unassisted), N/A. ME — Dempsey (UA), 27:20. D — Max Daugherty (Caleb Besaw), 39:55.
ME — Anthony Lupiani (Dempsey), 46:43. D — Jon Boland (penalty kick), 67:35.
Saves — ME: Patrick Silk 4. D: Corbin Rumbolt 2.
Reach sports editor Geoff Smith at 413-496-6254 or @GSmith_Eagle.
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