Mount Greylock boys soccer team tops Wahconah 3-1
DALTON — The Mount Greylock boys soccer team now stands one game away from a perfect Berkshire North run.
Playing under the lights at Wahconah on Monday, the Mounties got two goals in the first half, then added an insurance tally in the second to post a 3-1 win over the Warriors.
With the win, Greylock is now 10-1-1 overall, and 7-0-0 in the North with one league game left — Friday against Lenox.
"It's great," Greylock coach Blair Dils said of winning the North. "It's been a couple years. The convincing fashion — I don't know when the last time we went 8-0-0 in the league, and that's the goal.
"It hasn't happened very often for any team in the north to run the whole slate. ... I didn't expect that at the beginning of the season. We've just played really well in the league games."
Finn Welch opened the scoring in the 9th minute on a pass from Emi Soza-Foias, then Soza-Foias capitalized on a defensive miscue in the 25th minute to put the Mounties up 2-0.
Wahconah (9-5-0, 3-4-0) didn't go away quietly, but all of the Warriors' chances in the first half were either snuffed out, or saved by Greylock 'keeper Oscar Low (5 saves).
"We came out and we played well," Wahconah coach John Kovacs said. "We had a gameplan and we stuck to it and did well. They had some good chances there that could have put us away, but at the same time, I think we gave up some goals we shouldn't have."
Greylock nearly added a third right before the interval, but when Soza-Foias sprung Welch with a through ball in the middle of the defense, Welch tucked his shot home, only for everyone to realize the linesman had raised his flag for offside against Welch.
The Mounties kept the pressure up in the second half and forced Wahconah goalie Jack Perenick (10 saves) into a string of tough stops. One sequence saw Perenick deny Welch from inside the 6-yard box, then on another, Perenick parried a save, and when a weak shot came back toward his goal, central defender Billy O'Neill jumped up and cleared the ball off the line before it could cross.
"I thought the energy level was good. We certainly created a lot of chances," Dils said. "The ball was up in the air a little too much for my liking, but we got the two goals in the first half and were hoping for more in the second half, but they played well defensively and frustrated us in places."
But while Perenick was trying to build a wall in goal, Welch finally broke through on a clever free kick. After a foul near the edge of the 18-yard box, Welch stepped up quickly over the ball. As Perenick tried directing his wall, Welch took a shot, and sent it to the far post and past Perenick to make it 3-0.
The Welch connection with Soza-Foias was on all night. Dils said that the pairing is something he's been pleased with this season.
"I think if they give Finn too much attention, then Emi is open, and if they don't give Finn enough attention, then Finn is open and Emi can find him," Dils said. "They've been a dangerous combination since fifth grade. They just know each other so well, and instinctively know where each other are."
While the goal proved to form a mountain too high for Wahconah to climb, the Warriors didn't give up. Kevin Huban had a free kick pawed over the crossbar by Low, then on a corner kick that cycled out, Huban had a shot blocked, which fell to Liam Anderson. Anderson had his shot parried by Low, but in the ensuing scramble, Darrin Cloran poked the ball home to break up the shutout.
Greylock's two blemishes this year have come against Division I opponents — a loss to Longmeadow, and a draw against Ludlow. Outside of that, Dils said his team is humming at the moment.
"I think defensively, we have gotten a lot better," Dils said. "Tonight we played without our two starting center backs, two senior captains, because of injuries. Obviously guys stepped in well. We really wanted the shutout at the end there, Oscar played great, made great saves. The guys are working hard. Our system of play, guys understand their roles and it's coming together right now."
Wahconah will lick its wounds after the loss, but Kovacs did see some positives in the loss.
"You want to improve since your last game, and I think we did that, and you want to have your intensity up, and I think we did that, too," Kovacs said.
Both teams are back in action Wednesday, when Greylock hosts West Springfield, and Wahconah welcomes Mount Everett to Dalton.
Greylock 2 1 — 3
Wahconah 0 1 — 1
MG — Finn Welch (Emi Soza-Foias), 8:40. MG — Soza-Foias (unassisted), 24:04.
MG — Welch (free kick), 68:54. W — Darrin Cloran (unassisted), 76:28.
Saves — MG: Oscar Low 5. W: Jack Perenick 10.
Geoff Smith can be reached at email@example.com, @GSmith_Eagle on Twitter, or 413-496-6254.
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