Mount Greylock girls soccer gets 3 points from Madison Ross in 3-0 win over Pittsfield
WILLIAMSTOWN — After a pair of games on the turf at Zavattaro Athletic Complex at MCLA, the Mount Greylock girls thought things would be slowed down a little back on the grass field next to the high school.
While that may have been the case for most, Madison Ross doesn't care much what she's running on, just that she's running at all. And she's running fast.
Ross zoomed around Greylock's home field, and either scored or assisted on each Mounties goal in a 3-0 win over Pittsfield.
Greylock improves to 6-4-1 overall and 2-3 in the Berkshire North. The Generals go to 1-7-1 and 0-4-1.
Greylock's junior forward has been recovering from a stress fracture in her spine for the last year or so. When she's not shouldering off defenders and putting shots on goal, she's still wearing a back brace, and the return to full-time soccer has been a slow grind. Ross was a 20-point scorer for the Mounties as a freshman, but had three goals and two assists through 10 games before Tuesday.
"It's been getting a little better, and I'm happy to be back," said Ross. "At first it was tough, I couldn't really run, but now I'm getting back into it, getting better and I think I'm a little faster."
Her presence was felt from the drop, and a hard drive at the net in the ninth minute resulted in a rebound opportunity for teammate Ella Dudley, who fired home the ice-breaker on an empty net to make it 1-0.
With just minutes left in the first half, Greylock's Elizabeth Dupras showcased her own top-flight speed and breaking through the Generals defense and blasting a shot off the crossbar. It took a high bounce on the ricochet and Ross got a head on it. The header found metal as well, and bounced back out into the goalie box. Pittsfield freshman keeper Mia Gale made her play for it, but Ross got there first with a high-swinging right leg to pound it home.
"I just knew I couldn't give up. Usually when it hits the post there's no one there. I just had to keep going after it, and it worked," said Ross.
Ross really cranked it up in the 48th minute, burning by two different Pittsfield defenders along the right side. She rode one of them into the 18-yard box and got a strong right foot up into the left corner of the goal for an insurance tally.
"A healthy Maddy opens things up up front," said Greylock coach Tom Ostheimer. "[Ross] and Elizabeth are also really fast. If we can get those two clicking, with Clara [McWeeny] the playmaker in the middle, then we can be pretty dangerous."
Ostheimer also mentioned how, for stretches of the game, things looked very much the opposite of a 3-0 win.
The Generals, short-handed without top scorer Julia Eline-Wright and starting goalkeeper Lexi Swanson, opened the second half with much more offensive pressure. Greylock's Izzy Nicastro made an early save, before Kate Chambers put a cross through the box with no one on the other end. Pittsfield earned back-to-back corner kicks in the 47th minute, but a Brook Masse clear led to Ross' quick strike the other way.
"There were stretches of the game that Pittsfield out-played us, but we were able to contain them outside and Izzy did a great job. She's improved every game," said Ostheimer.
Pittsfield had a shot to get the equalizer in the first half, when Liz Swanson came up with a takeaway deep in Greylock's zone. She worked it into the corner and sent a cross off the head of teammate Nicole Brindle that bounded just wide of the net.
Following the third goal, Pittsfield went immediately back on the offensive. Swanson and Emery Sime leveled two great chances each, but all were denied by Greylock's senior keeper. Grace Heimann struck a free kick from the corner just wide on the far side of the net with 20 minutes to play. Swanson was relentless, forcing two more saves late.
"They were definitely charging hard. We had a reactionary first few minutes, but I'm confident in my team," said Nicastro. "We had a lead, but can get a little slow, so I have to yell and we can pick it back up."
Greylock has amassed 13 points towards the 18 needed for a Western Massachusetts tournament bid. That remains the stated goal from Ostheimer on down.
"Our biggest goals are making it to the tournament. We want to beat Wahconah, Monument, some of those teams that have taken it to us," said Nicastro. "We're working a lot with our passes, getting more accurate with our shots. I'm really confident that this team is going to make [Western Mass.] this year."
Pittsfield 0 0 — 0
Greylock 2 1 — 3
MG — Ella Dudley (Madison Ross), 7:34. MG — Ross (Elizabeth Dupras), 36:26.
MG — Ross (unassisted), 47:22.
Saves — P: Mia Gale, 4; MG: Izzy Nicastro, 7.
Mike Walsh can be reached at email@example.com, at @CLNS_Walsh on Twitter and 413-496-6240.
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