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Amherst beats E. Longmeadow in Division 1 soccer opener; Hurricanes lose Vazquez



Friday, December 06, 2013
The Amherst Regional boys soccer team advanced, but at a potential cost.

The No. 2-seeded Hurricanes beat No. 7 East Longmeadow 4-2 Monday in the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Tournament quarterfinal round.

But in the process the team might have lost standout midfielder Brandon Vazquez, who left in the first half with an ankle injury. Amherst coach Michael Rudd did not know the severity of Vazquez’s injury, only that his senior was getting an X-ray Monday night.

“Except for some breakdowns on the goals, I thought we played some cohesive soccer,” Rudd said. “We attacked with pace, which is what we wanted to do. We defended as a team. I was pleased but we certainly have to do better moving forward.”

Amherst (12-3-4) will face No. 3 West Springfield (13-3-3) at Springfield Central at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. West Springfield beat the Hurricanes 1-0 and 4-1 this season.

“We’re trying to be as disciplined as possible,” Rudd said. “This isn’t about West Side. It’s about us.”

Vazquez fed Eric Gooden in the eighth minute to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead.

Following Vazquez’s injury, Gooden made it 2-0 when he struck from 40 yards out 31 minutes into the first half. Alex LaRaja (assist) then headed home a restart by Noa Iimura five minutes into the second to give Amherst a 3-0 lead.

East Longmeadow got one back 20 minutes into the second, then struck two minutes later to pull within 3-2.

“Both goals were from players free in box,” Rudd said. “We weren’t strong enough in our marking.”

Amherst had several chances down the stretch as the Spartans pressed for the equalizer.

Jordan van Emmerik scored from Wilson Fidalgo with one minute left to the seal Amherst’s win. Mike Rock made five saves in the win.