Shannon Finnegan scores a hat trick as Lee advances in Western Massachusetts Division IV tournament

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STEPHANIE ZOLLSHAN - THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE
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LEE — Led by Shannon Finnegan's hat trick, the Lee Wildcats find themselves advancing in the Western Mass Division IV playoffs.

The eighth-seeded Wildcats defeated No. 9 Westfield Tech, 4-1, in a first-round game Saturday afternoon.

"I definitely think it was my teammate's passes [that set up the big day]," said Finnegan. "We came into this game knowing we wanted to win and wanted to take the next step."

Finnegan scored her first goal only three minutes into the game on an assist from Hannah Simmons.

"Once you get the first goal our momentum is there," Finnegan said. "We got the goal early and it allowed us to own the game from there."

The Wildcats were focused on getting an early lead and that stemmed from head coach Lauren Finnegan's message before the game.

"I told them going in that when you start off a game with the mentality that you are going to win, it sets the tone for the rest of the game," coach Finnegan said. "The stress goes down, the confidence goes up and allowed them to play great soccer for the rest of the game."

The score remained 1-0 until the 23rd minute of the first half, when Shannon Finnegan tacked on her second goal of the game on an assist from Carly McElroy. Not a minute later, the Wildcats got themselves another goal, this one off the foot of Ann Macchi on an assist from Paige Barry. The score remained 3-0 into halftime.

Early in the second half, Finnegan suffered a head injury when her and a Tigers defender went up for the same ball and they bumped heads.

"Usually when I get hurt I sit on the bench and think about the game," Shannon Finnegan said. "I remembered I had two goals and I told myself that I needed the hat trick."

About ten minutes later she returned to the game and in the 68th minute, she scored her third goal on an assist from Macchi and as a result, get her first hat trick of her senior year.

"It was really important [to have a strong showing in her last home game as a Wildcat]," Finnegan said. "At Senior Night, I never thought I would get another chance to play another home game here. It was nice to hear we would play another game here and I'm glad it went well."

With less than two minutes remaining in the match, the Tigers prevented the shutout on a goal from Liluta Stepanchak with Heather Lannon assisting. Out of the Tigers' seven shots, that was the only one to get past Wildcat goalkeeper Brianna Hawley.

Lee advances to play No. 1 Granby in the quarterfinals. The game is set for Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Granby.

———

Westfield Tech     0     1          1

Lee     3     1          4

First Half

L — Shannon Finnegan (Hannah Simmons), 3:03. L — Finnegan (Carly McElroy), 23:39. L — Ann Macchi (Paige Barry), 24:58.

Second Half

L — Finnegan (Macchi), 68:24. WT — Liluta Stepanchak (Heather Lannon), 79:00.

Saves — L: Brianna Hawley 6.


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