CHESHIRE — The members of the Hoosac Valley girls soccer team are thankful for getting the opportunity to play their sport in the Fall II season. Since they’re playing, the Hurricanes figure they might as well play for a championship.
“In the fall, I didn’t think we would have this season. I don’t think any of our team did,” said Sydni Jamros, whose goal with just under 20 minutes left in regulation broke a scoreless tie and gave Hoosac a 1-0 win over Mount Everett in a Berkshire County South semifinal.
“As a senior, to find out we were having a Fall II meant the world to me,” she said. “I wanted to come out and be competitive. We may not be in the North, but I believe we are the team to win the South.
“To me, this game meant everything, because it made us one step closer.”
Hoosac will play Route 8 rival Drury on Friday at 4 p.m. in North Adams for the South championship. The Blue Devils advanced with a 4-1 win over Lee in the other semifinal.
Hoosac and Mount Everett just played each other 10 days ago, with the teams battling to a 1-1 draw. The Eagles had come into the game having won three of their previous four games. The Eagles’ most recent game was a 2-1 loss at Lenox on Saturday night.
The Hurricanes, however, hadn’t won a game since beating Lee back on April 14. They had scored only two total goals in their last four games, and with three quarters of Wednesday’s semifinal gone, it did not look like they were going to add to that total.
“I didn’t,” said Hoosac coach Kathy Budaj. “It was going to be a stalemate.”
The Hurricanes had a 7-4 shot advantage in the opening 40 minutes. Eagles goalkeeper Emma Goewey made five saves, but none were real tests.
But in the second half, the Eagles used some of their speed on the flanks to get the ball downfield. Even as the Everett forwards and midfielders penetrated the Hoosac defense, goalkeeper Emma Meczywor was up to the task. The eighth grader had four of her seven saves in the second half. While she was keeping the Eagles off the board, Jamros managed to break through.
Jamros picked up a loose ball in the box that the Everett defense couldn’t clear out of danger. The Hoosac senior got a foot on it, the ball found the back of the net, and the Hurricanes were on the board.
“It all started with Annie Canales. She’s been doing great in the middle, a perfect ball through to Kimmie, who’s an an eighth grader who’s really stepped it up,” Jamros said. “She put a perfect ball. I saw it coming in perfectly. Their goalie is really good and I knew the only way I would be able to score was to step in front of her.
“I just stepped in front of her, and I just had to run to the ball.”
That Jamros was in that position was due to a change that Budaj made.
“I said let’s go for the win,” she said. “We’re struggling at midfield a little bit with controlling it. She’s been playing midfield for us, but I know she can score.”
The Eagles had several potential scoring opportunities, but could not convert. In the final five minutes, Everett’s Makenzie Ullrich took a free kick from about 30 yards out. She ripped the ball and Meczywor caught it on one bounce. It was the last, best opportunity for the Eagles as afternoon turned to evening.
Budaj cited defender Lilly Boudreau as helping to anchor the Hoosac backline against the Eagles.
“Our defensive line was getting a little bit out of synch, so what was happening was they were allowing [Everett] to play that through ball,” Budaj said. “Lilly did a phenomenal job back there. Having Lilly’s speed back there was huge.”
And while it wasn’t quite how the Eagles drew up their schedule for the week, head coach Josh King said he was more than pleased with how they performed this season.
“Just to see them grow. This will be my second year coaching and just to see the improvement that they’ve made,” he said. “You know, soccer is a game of inches. A bad bounce here, a bad bounce there, you lose track of somebody. Overall, these girls have come a long way and I really appreciate what the senior class has done for this group.”