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Granby edges Wahconah in OT to reach Division 3 semifinals



Saturday, November 09, 2013
GRANBY— Two Granby freshmen teamed up for a satisfying conclusion to their team’s first postseason game.

Less than two minutes into overtime, a pass from Kate Sullivan gave Erin Mikalchus an open shot that darted left of Wahconah keeper Jamie Downer and went into the net. That goal sent the Granby girls soccer team into the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament semifinals for the second year in a row.

The No. 4 Rams (15-3-1) will play the winner of the No. 1 Hampshire and No. 8 South Hadley quarterfinal match. A time, date and place has yet to be determined.

“I’m really proud of how my team played,” Granby coach Nick Boorman said. “I’m just happy we played hard and never quit.”

Last year, the Rams fell to Lenox in the Division 3 semis. It snapped a run of three consecutive trips to the finals for Granby, which hasn’t won a sectional title since 2004.

In a game where momentum shifted constantly between the Rams and the fifth-seeded Warriors (7-7-3), the match was a test of endurance between a speedy Warriors offense and a lockdown Rams defense. Boorman was not surprised by the Warriors hustle and noticed the well-played defense of his team.

“We knew going in that (Wahconah) was an extremely good team and they left it all on the field,” Boorman said. “As for our team, we played unbelievable team defense from the forwards to the midfielders to the defense and goalie.”

Rams keeper Brittany Hauschild made five saves in the match to shut out the Warriors and win the match.

“I think that Brittany is the most underrated player that I’ve ever been around,” Boorman said. “She’s a team motivator and she plays goalie really well.”

One of Hauschild’s saves included a direct kick from 30 yards out that she grabbed just before going in the net.

The Warriors controlled the first half with offensive chances and passing that caused trouble for the Rams. However, the Rams’ defense cleared the ball on plays that put the ball within a couple feet of crossing the goal line. The Rams’ offense had minimal chances as several shots went wide of the net. Downer was not challenged much in the first half and made three saves.

“That’s what is going to happen when you play against a good team,” Boorman said.

A 0-0 halftime score did not deflate the Rams and even seemed to spark their efforts. Aggressive tackling along with short and long passes helped shift the momentum to the Rams’ corner for much of the second half. The Warriors still stayed strong in the offensive zone and had several good chances off of corner kicks and a couple of breakouts. These chances were still not enough to get the ball past Hauschild and the Rams’ defense.

Downer was replaced at halftime with keeper Hannah Brennan, who also made three saves. Brennan was pressured a lot more as the Rams got the ball into Warriors’ territory, but the Wahconah defense blocked a lot of shots from reaching Brennan.

The last few minutes of the second half were a stalemate that sent the match into a 10-minute overtime period. The quick overtime goal at 1:53 was Mikalchus’ 23rd of the season and 29th point.