Mount Greylock girls lacrosse bests Hoosac Valley in all-Berkshire County Central/Western Mass. D-II semifinal
WILLIAMSTOWN — Gabby Orpin and the five other seniors who make up Mount Greylock's core may have been playing lacrosse together for six years, but never during that time did they dare to dream of playing for a sectional championship.
"We had never made it to the semis, so this is just insane," Orpin said after posing for a photo with those five friends who all played their final game on the Cold Spring Road campus.
It was not, however, the final time they will suit up together in a locker room, grab their sticks and compete. The second-seeded Mounties advanced to the Central/Western Massachusetts Division II final with a 14-5 victory over No. 6 Hoosac Valley Tuesday evening.
It was the first semifinal appearance for either Berkshire County team, and it was Greylock who appeared ready for the moment from the get-go.
"I'm incredibly excited for Berkshire County girls lacrosse to have two teams at this level, and one moving on. It's great for all the programs overall," commented Mounties coach Lindsey von Holtz.
The Mounties blitzed Hoosac to a 5-0 lead on Carolyn Jones' strike with 11 minutes and 23 seconds left in the first half. The goal gave Jones a hat trick, but was just the third of a six-tally game for the freshman attack.
"We've said all along that we cannot play well unless the entire team plays well," said the coach of Greylock, which was without starting attack Clare Sheedy. "Today, the entire team had to step up. One person causes the ground ball, the other picks it up. None of this could have happened without the team playing together."
Chloe Martel got the Hurricanes, who's postseason run included both of the first two tournament victories in program history, on the board at 6:37 of the first to draw within four. Hoosac won the face off, a rarity Tuesday, and went right into another possession, but couldn't find the back of Autumn Delorey's net. Greylock's keeper made a big save and the Mounties took off the other way with senior star Emma Polumbo (four goals) leading the charge. She assisted on another Jones strike at 5:36, and then scored two more herself — winning back-to-back draws — before 30 seconds had gone by. Greylock led 8-1 and 9-2 at halftime.
"The draws killed us today, and Emma is fantastic," said Hoosac Valley coach Molly Meczywor. "We had bits and pieces of breakdowns today, and good players capitalize on that. Defensively we gave up some easy goals that took some time to come back from. Then offensively, I wouldn't say that we took our time looking for shots."
Meczywor's unit regrouped at halftime, and defensively brought it's A-game to start the second half. However, the Mounties defensive backbone kept right on with its game plan of collapsing on attackers and denying Alie Mendel the ball as much as possible.
"The second game we played them she did some damage. She's a very good player and that is a very good team," von Holtz said. "We tried to play as close to Greylock lacrosse as possible, but keep in mind that she gave us trouble. A couple players specializing on her defensively."
In a 10-9 victory over the Hurricanes on May 9, Mendel lit up Greylock for eight goals. With a title shot on the line, Orpin and crew weren't going to let that happen again.
"In this game we tried to face-guard Alie so she could get the ball as little as possible," said Orpin. "We just went in with a great mindset to work together, not get frustrated. When we're focused on stuff defensively, we play a lot better."
She, along with fellow defensive seniors Kristen Aliberti and Aleya Cappadona helped Delorey seal off the net. Hoosac senior captain Claudia Bresett broke through with the first score of the second half at 16:30, but another member of that core, Caroline Flynn used quick feet to dance in for a Greylock's 10th goal two minutes later.
Mendel scored to draw back within six on a nice backhand scoop, but Polumbo answered with a free position that started a 4-0 Mounties run to close things out.
"I can't complain about where we are. Nobody expected us to be here, playing in a semifinal," said Meczywor. "I'm just really proud. Regardless of what happened I told them before I was just bursting with pride. We met every goal we set. "
Now, No. 2 Greylock moves on to take on top-seeded Bromfield in the Division II title game at a to-be-determined date, time and location. Bromfield hammered No. 5 Chicopee Comp 17-1 in the other semifinal. While it's not quite something they've pined over since seventh grade, for Orpin, Polumbo, Aliberti, Flynn, Cappadona and Lauren Howard, this isn't an opportunity taken for granted.
"I want to win the finals," assured Orpin. "In all the sports I've played, we've never been to a Western Mass. final, so now that we're here, I want to win it all."
Hoosac 2 3 — 5
2Greylock 9 5 — 14
Goals — HV: Chloe Martel, Brooke DiGennaro, Claudia Bresett, Alie Mendel, Cairagan Greene; MG: Carolyn Jones 6, Emma Polumbo 4, Caroline Flynn 2, Emma Stevens, Brook Masse.
Assists — HV: Skylar Case; MG: Stevens, Jones, Polumbo, Flynn
Saves — HV: Abi Disbrow 4; MG: Autumn Delorey 6.
Mike Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @CLNS_Walsh on Twitter and 413-496-6240.
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