Notebook: Greylock girls lacrosse looks to postseason; Taconic's Decker gets extra motivation


Mount Greylock girls lacrosse coach Lindsey von Holtz is a little concerned about Friday morning's Central-Western Mass. seed meeting at West Springfield High School.

Admittedly, she doesn't know much about the teams Central Mass. will have in the tournament. Then again, they don't likely know much about the Mounties, either.

"It'll be hard in the seeding meeting on Friday to seed the divisions together," Von Holtz said. "We don't have too many people who know both divisions."

Monday's win at Pittsfield improved Greylock's record to 13-1-1. The Mounties end their regular season Wednesday against Hoosac Valley, and then await their seed Friday morning. The seeding meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m.

Von Holtz would like her team to continue to concentrate on fluid passing, both in transition and around the goal.

"We tend to stand too much, so I would like to continue to working on moving around the goal and making it hard for the defense to mark you," the coach said.

Freshman Sarah Stripp doesn't seem to be too concerned about the other teams in the field, whether they're from Western Mass. or Central Mass.

"I think, if we keep practicing how we have been ... anyone that we play, we have a good chance of [beating] or playing well," she said.

A little extra motivation for Taconic's Decker: Winning three games and qualifying for the Western Mass. tournament was really the only motivation Taconic pitcher Carly Decker needed this week.

But she found a little something extra to push her through Sunday morning.

Decker's parents, Glen and Karen, left Carly a card on her freshly-laundered Braves uniform. It had a Babe Ruth quote on the front -- "Don't let the fear of striking out hold you back" -- and a message from them inside.

"Let's fight hard to the end," the card read. "3 more games to Western Mass."

Decker tweeted a photo of both the front and inside of the card.

"It motivated me to play harder," Decker said. "I was happy."

The card worked wonders. Decker three-hit St. Joseph on Sunday; she scattered three runs on six hits, striking out four, to beat Lee on Monday; and she pitched six innings in Taconic's Western Mass. berth-clinching win over Drury on Tuesday night.

It was a long 72-hour period for Decker, but ultimately worth it.

"Taconic hasn't made it in six years, and everyone was counting on us to make it," she said. "It's an amazing feeling. Our goal was 10 wins; that's the one goal we set."

Wahconah cross country coach steps aside: Tom Keefe's plan wasn't to hand the reins of the Wahconah boys cross country team to someone else after just two years.

"The plan was to stay there a long time, but life comes at you, you know?" he said Wednesday. "With two kids, it's much harder than I expected."

Keefe informed his Wahconah runners Wednesday that he is stepping down as coach. He cited increased family responsibilities as the reason; his wife, Susanna, gave birth to son Curran approximately 2 1/2 weeks ago. The couple also has a 2-year-old son, William.

Keefe, 33, said the Warrior runners were surprised, but understood the move.

"Over the last two years, we've really built that program up," he said. "When I took over, I want to say they were 4-10. Since then, we were 23-5.

"Next year, I think they'll be pretty good. They'll be in it; I don't think any team is going to come near Greylock's boys, but I think Wahconah's going to be in it with Lenox and Hoosac. Monument's always pretty decent."

Wahconah's roster doubled in size for the 2013 season, and the Warriors took fourth as a team in the Western Mass. Division I meet. Senior Marcus Duncan led the way with a 10th-place individual finish at Northfield.

Keefe believes the key to sustaining the success his teams have had is finding a coach that can both reach and retain talented underclassmen in the Central Berkshire district.

"A lot of teams will forget the guys on the bottom," he added. "There are some good freshmen in there, and there could be some good freshmen coming up. If you keep pushing them forward, Wahconah will be good for a long time."


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