PITTSFIELD — Through two games in the Fall II season, the Pittsfield back line has been tested its fair share. But, in 140 minutes of soccer, the Generals have been scored on just once.
“We work, and we work, and we work on it,” said coach Juan Ramos after his team’s 3-1 win over Lenox on Tuesday afternoon. “And the girls are fantastic at getting it. They have the right attitude and I have three really intelligent soccer players back there that can guide everybody else and put them in the right place.”
PHS was in the right place more often than not against a Lenox team playing in its first game in about 17 months, and with that the Generals move to 2-0.
The Millionaires were suiting up for the first time this season under new head coach Brian Seminara. Back on Nov. 17, 2019, Seminara was assisting Kyle Zinchuk on the sidelines when Lenox won the Western Massachusetts Division IV title.
“It definitely showed that this was our first game and our second day on a full field,” said Seminara. “It’s definitely been an adjustment. Trying to all figure out our places and get on the same page. Kyle and I had played together since we were 10 years old. We knew each other very well, and I’ve known them for two months.
“We’re getting there.”
Pittsfield got a pair of goals from senior Emery Sime, giving her five in two games, along with two assists from Allie Schnopp in the win.
The Generals boast 11 seniors on the roster, and Sime showcased that experience with the game’s opening goal.
Late in the first half, Lenox moved to pass backward to its defense to try and control possession. Sime strode through, though, and came away with a defensive zone takeaway. She bolted forward and drew Lenox freshman goalie Gabriella Hall out of the net just enough. Sime’s timed her blast perfectly and cleared Hall into the back of the net with 2 minutes, 21 seconds left in the half.
“She has made a quantum improvement, and it comes mentally by being composed,” said Ramos. “She came in, looked up, the goalkeeper was out, she hit it. She had the composure to make the right decision, and of course the technique to do it.”
Pittsfield kept up its pressure early in the second half, with Hall and Savannah Reber fending off another scoring opportunity out of the gate. The Generals added an insurance tally 12 minutes into the second half, though. Schnopp carried possession up the left sideline and forced a defender to kick out of bounds. On the inbounds kick, Schnopp guided a pass to Sadie Tierney, who was all by herself. The senior midfielder spun on her left shoulder and unleashed a right-footed boot that curved expertly around Hall and deposited in the top-right corner of the net.
That score proved crucial, as the still reigning D-IV champs did get themselves on the board with 11:15 remaining in the game. Molly Knight guided a brilliant lead pass through the PHS defense onto the striding foot of Mary Elliot. Elliot pushed in on the right post and beat PHS keeper Lexi Swanson to the spot to halve the deficit.
With a little more than 10 minutes to tie the game up, Lenox tried to charge up the pressure, but didn’t quite have the legs. Knight had another nice thread a few minutes later, but senior Gabby Cohan was first to it for Pittsfield.
“What we tell them is to play good defense you don’t have to be the fastest or the strongest,” said Ramos. “You just have to be in the right place at the right time with the right attitude.”
The Generals put the game away with 3:41 left, when Tess Tierney skied a ball into the Lenox box, where Sime and Schnopp were waiting. Both got kicks in, before Sime found an opening on the right side for the 3-1 lead.
LENOX 0 1 — 1
PITTSFIELD 1 2 — 3
P — Emery Sime (unassisted), 32:39.
P — Sadie Tierney (Allie Schnopp), 47:12; L — Mary Elliot (Molly Knight), 58:45; P — Sime (Schnopp), 66:19.
Saves — L: Gabriella Hall 4; P: Lexi Swanson 6.