Mount Greylock girls soccer team holds off Drury for 3-2 win
WILLIAMSTOWN — The Mount Greylock girls soccer team is 5-0 to start the season for the first time coach Tom Ostheimer can remember is his previous 11 years with the program.
However, following Tuesday afternoon's harrowing 3-2 victory over visiting Drury, the Mounties' huddle was dismissed with the request that they flush that win and the prior four matches out.
Ostheimer's reasoning was two-fold. For one; Mount Greylock puts that unbeaten start on the line on Thursday night against defending Berkshire North champion Wahconah; and two, while Drury is saddled with the loss in the record books, the Blue Devils got the better of play for the final 50 minutes of action.
"We got the win, feels great to be 5-0," said Ostheimer. "We've played better, but did enough to get the 'W,' and then we've got Wahconah Thursday night — going to be a big one."
Greylock roared out to a 3-0 lead in the first half, but following Clara McWeeny's uncorked horizontal strike on a Livia Morales bouncer in the box at 28 minutes, 34 seconds of the match, the Mountie offense went silent.
Kayla McGrath caught up with an Elli Miles through ball a couple minutes later, and put the Blue Devils on the board.
Seeing McGrath catch up with Miles' threaded pass, take on a Greylock defender one-on-one and blast a strong shot by keeper Delaney Babcock got Drury believing what second-year head coach Maria Bartini has been preaching to her girls over what is now an 0-4 start to the season.
"I'm happy, I'd rather we have it this way [playing a tough early schedule]. We're really playing into form. We've been looking really good, and this second half was great," the coach said
The Blue Devils believed they belonged in Tuesday's game, and McGrath nearly brought them all the way back.
Later in the second half, McGrath and Jackie Moulton broke free on a charge up the field. Moulton drew a defender off to one side, while McGrath opted to charge in on Babcock. Her shot stretched to the far post, caught the inside and bounded into the back of the net with 27:52 remaining in the game.
"That's a really great team over there," said Bartini, "and we stayed right with them. I'm proud of these girls, they worked hard."
Greylock had been working to get that extra insurance tally, but struggled to make the most of slim opportunities. Senior captain Madison Ross, who assisted on Jane Skavlem's goal in the 19th minute, was sidelined by an injury, and Drury goalie Caroline Cellana, making just her second career start for injured McKenzie Dobbert, got more and more comfortable as time wore on.
Cellana misjudged a corner kick early in the first half, which led to a hand ball called on a teammate in the box, and McWeeny put away the penalty kick for Greylock's 1-0 lead. Skavlem's goal was likewise the result of a rebound that wasn't cleaned up.
However, Cellana finished with six saves, including some dynamite confidence-boosting plays down the stretch to keep Drury alive.
"All the credit to Drury, they gave us fits for 80 minutes. Down 3-0, a lot of teams fold," said Ostheimer. "We just couldn't quite get that extra goal to make things a little more comfortable. Next thing you know it's a one-goal game."
The equalizer, however, never came. At a certain point, the Mounties changed up their own defensive game plan and managed to bottle up McGrath and company, holding Drury without an opportunity over the game's final 10 minutes.
"The defense started to link up a little tighter, more bodies on Kayla," said Ostheimer, who noted Skavlem's work on the Drury sharp-shooter in particular.
McKenzie Sheehy and Zoe Armet made key stops as well to keep the Blue Devils at bay. And from there, Talia Cappadona and McWeeny took care of the clock in the midfield.
"We had a timeout and said `we're not losing this game, we've worked too hard,'" said McWeeny. "We just buckled down. It's about depending on your teammates and knowing they're going to be there to support you. Coming together as a team is what gets us through these tight games."
Drury 1 1 — 2
Greylock 3 0 — 3
MG — Clara McWeeny (penalty kick), 12:59; MG — Jane Skavlem (Madison Ross), 19:16; MG — McWeeny (Livia Morales), 28:34; D — Kayla McGrath (Elli Miles), 31:01.
D — McGrath (unassisted), 52:08.
Saves — D: Caroline Cellana, 6; MG: Delaney Babcock, 4.
Mike Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @CLNS_Walsh on Twitter and 413-496-6240.
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