PITTSFIELD — There are a few different pictures to paint regarding the last four days for the Hoosac Valley boys soccer team.
Hoosac Valley boys soccer beat Taconic 3-1
Hoosac Valley boys soccer beat Taconic 3-1
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For starters, the Hurricanes played 240 minutes of action, or three games, over 96 hours. Additionally, Hoosac outscored opponents 8-1 in that stretch after a 3-1 win over Taconic on Thursday night.
“It feels great,” said Tyler Norcross, a senior on the Hurricanes. “Our passing has gotten so much better over the years and we’re moving the ball better. We’re just expanding the field a lot more.”
Crisp passes to open space summarized Hoosac’s first-half success at Berkshire Community College. In fact, the Hurricanes controlled the ball for most of the first 40 minutes.
Hoosac (3-0-2), specifically Norcross, struck five minutes into regulation and it started with a corner kick. He aired the ball in front of the net and it ricocheted off roughly eight players before landing right back at his feet.
“We have a lot of size in the box and everyone crashes,” Norcross said of Hoosac’s approach on corner kicks. “We usually leave one or two people back and that is really all we need.
“I wasn’t expecting the ball, I just happened to be in the right spot and took it.”
Norcross had a moment to line up his shot and delivered a top-shelf curveball that could not be stopped, giving Hoosac the 1-0 lead.
Twelve minutes into the second half, with the score knotted at one, Norcross pooched a corner kick past the Taconic (1-3-1) defense, off the head of teammate Brodie Lanoue and into the back of the net. The header made the score 2-1 in the second half.
Lanoue, along with David Scholz and Nick Walsh, created plenty of problems for Taconic. While the Green and Gold had speed, Hoosac Valley neutralized it with the trio’s physicality.
Taconic’s Makai Shepardson featured the quickness to break through the first wave of Hurricanes and was driving down the left side of the pitch in the 15th minute. Scholz was forced to make a decision in transition — stop the player or stop the ball.
The sophomore picked the perfect time to strike, cutting off a clear pass and squashing the 2-on-1 fast break. That wasn’t the last we heard of Shepardson, though. The midfielder pelted another shot roughly a minute later, but senior keeper Lucas Waterman was there to slap it into the turf.
Waterman finished with 12 saves and has been virtually impossible to beat through five games this season, allowing just two goals thus far.
Thursday, though, was truly a tale of two halves as Taconic went from four shots in the first half to eight in the second.
“In every game so far we enter halftime and are trailing,” said Luke Chambers, coach of Taconic. “The kids showed character and desire tonight, we just need to play a full 80 minutes instead of a 40-minute game.
“Once that clicks, I believe the games will start turning in our favor.”
The biggest difference between halves was energy, according to Chambers.
“They are a different team when they show that desire to win the ball,” he said. “It puts pressure on opponents and we’ve lost three games like this in the second half.”
Job Vengali, one of Taconic’s captains, put the home team on the board seven minutes into the second half on a penalty kick. While it knotted the game at the time, Hoosac scored the game’s final two goals.
What stands out about Taconic’s quartet of captains is that they’re three juniors and a sophomore. Additionally, the youthful Taconic squad did not feature a single senior on the pitch Thursday. While there are some growing pains, Chambers sees the path of success becoming more clear.
“Leadership is something we’re working on, it is a new experience for all of us,” Chambers said of the roster.
Vengali was the vocal leader in the middle of the field and Eric Quaidoo, Ezra Ezan and Riley Crawford are the team’s other three captains.
Taconic sophomore Timothy Parsons was put to work early as the team’s keeper. He finished with eight saves and six came in the first half, halting a penalty kick and slapping down a sliding shot from Hoosac’s Ian Godfrey.
The Green and Gold are off until traveling to Pioneer Valley Christian in Springfield for a non-league game on Monday.
Hoosac, coming off the long stretch, will also have a few days to recharge the batteries before returning to the pitch. The Hurricanes host Putnam on Monday with the match slated for 4:30 p.m.
Hoosac Valley 1 2 — 3
Taconic 0 1 — 1
HV — Nick Norcross (unassisted), 5:00.
T — Job Vengali (PK), 46:52.
HV — Brodie Lanoue (Norcross), 51:80.
HV — Isaac Herrmann (Drew Norcross), 79:59.
Saves — HV: Lucas Waterman 12; T: Timothy Parsons 8.