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Hadley Hawks advance past Amherst B in PVYSSL semifinals

  • Tenzin Tsering, left, of Amherst, and Jupiter Felter, of Hadley, vie for the ball during a Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League Division B semifinal Thursday at Hopkins Academy. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • James Serhant, left, of Amherst, begins a jump over the leg of Aleks Kucinski, of Hadley, during a Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League Division B semifinal Thursday at Hopkins Academy. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Dougie Pierce, right, of Hadley, heads the ball away from Jaydon Perez, of Amherst, during a Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League Division B semifinal Thursday at Hopkins Academy. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • James Serhant, left, of Amherst, moves the ball against Mark Pierce, of Hadley, during a Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League Division B semifinal Thursday at Hopkins Academy. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • James Serhant, center, of Amherst, moves the ball against Mark Pierce, of Hadley, during a Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League Division B semifinal Thursday at Hopkins Academy. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Aidan Michalak, right, heads the ball against Dylan Robson, of Amherst, during a Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League Division B semifinal Thursday at Hopkins Academy. Jupiter Fetler approaches. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Patrik Cooper, left, of Amherst, moves the ball against Mark Pierce, of Hadley, during a Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League Division B semifinal Thursday at Hopkins Academy. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hadley goalie Erik Berg jumps in an attempt to shop a shot from Evan Perry, of Amherst, left, during a Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League Division B semifinal Thursday at Hopkins Academy. Berg couldn't stop the shot, but another defender did. Jupiter Fetler watches the shot. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Amherst goalie Owen Young stops a shot from Hadley during a Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League Division B semifinal Thursday at Hopkins Academy. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jaydon Perez, right, of Amherst, shoots against Dougie Pierce, of Hadley, during a Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League Division B semifinal Thursday at Hopkins Academy. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Chaitan Konowitz, left, of Amherst, gets control of a pass against Mark Pierce, of Hadley, during a Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League Division B semifinal Thursday at Hopkins Academy. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Aleks Kucinski, left, of Hadley, passes against Mosiayah Ahmai, of Amherst, during a Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League Division B semifinal Thursday at Hopkins Academy. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hadley goalie Erik Berg stops a shot from Marvin Duran, of Amherst, in a series of game-ending penalty shots during a Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League Division B semifinal Thursday at Hopkins Academy. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hadley celebrates their win against Amherst after Greg Kucinski (4) scored the final goal in a series of penalty kicks during a Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League Division B semifinal Thursday at Hopkins Academy. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS



@kylegrbwsk
Thursday, August 03, 2017

HADLEY — Greg Kucinski settled the ball on the penalty spot with one hand. It sat unevenly on the dirt patch worn out of the JV soccer field at Hopkins Academy.

The Hopkins freshman-to-be knew the stakes. Convert and his second-seeded Hadley Hawks would win the penalty shootout and advance to the Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League Division B championship game. Miss and the shootout against Amherst B would continue.

Amherst keeper Owen Young waited in goal, hands near his knees in a defensive position.

After the referee’s whistle, Kucinski took a five-step approach and fired a shot to Young’s left in a puff of dust from the dirt. Young was leaning right, and the ball found the back of the net.

“He was on my team a couple of years ago for club soccer, so I kind of knew what to expect, where he was coming from,” Kucinski said. “I put aside what was at stake and calmed down.”

Hadley won the shootout 3-1 after regulation and two periods of extra time finished tied at 3. The Hawks will play either the Springfield Golden Eagles or Chicopee Pacers in the title game at 3:45 p.m. Saturday at Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow.

Dougie Pierce and Mike Curran made penalties before Kucinski. Keeper Erik Berg made three straight saves to set him up.

“Last game Erik did the same thing,” Curran said. “He’s looking really good.”

Hadley also won its quarterfinal matchup in penalties behind saves from Berg.

There were no goals in the extra time. Hadley fended off waves of Amherst attacks with a short bench and tired legs.

“Our goal was just to leg it out and get our counters in if we got the opportunity,” Curran said.

Amherst entered extra time with all of the game’s momentum. Brayan Rivas tied the game at 3 with four minutes left on a breakaway. He chased down a goal kick from Young and beat Berg to the right side of goal.

“We kind of panicked at first,” Kucinski said. “Then we calmed down and played our game.”

Mark Peirce put Hadley up 3-2 five minutes into the second half with his second goal of the game. Amherst struck early to take the first lead on a goal from Patrick Cooper, then Curran equalized from distance.

“I thought we needed to test the keeper. We weren’t getting too many shots on net,” Curran said. “It was a pretty good shot.”

Rivas put Amherst ahead again with a free kick in the first half. Berg was on the right side of the goal, so Rivas aimed left.

“I was looking at the sides,” Rivas said. “He couldn’t catch it.”

Curran’s second goal of the game leveled it at 2 at the half.

Dylan Robson scored Amherst’s goal during penalty kicks.