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Paul Delamy strikes late as Hopkins reaches D3 finals



Saturday, November 16, 2013
NORTHAMPTON — It took until the waning moments for the game to be decided, but the Hopkins Academy boys soccer team pulled out a thrilling 2-1 victory over Gateway Regional, Wednesday in the semifinal round of the Western Massachusetts Division 4 Tournament.

Top-seeded Hopkins (18-1-1) will take on No. 2 Monson (9-2-9) for the championship at a date, time and place yet to be determined.

“We are extremely excited,” Hopkins coach Justin Campbell said. “You’re always excited at this time of year if you win and move on. We’re happy to be back there (semifinals). That’s what we’ve been working toward all year. Let’s not take anything away from the effort that Gateway gave tonight, and the fantastic job they did against us. They played a great soccer game and we just happened to have one more ball bounce our way. This was our goal at the beginning of the year, and it’s nice to get there. Now we would just like to win one more obviously.”

Tied 1-1 in the 70th minute, Hopkins forward Paul Delamy recovered a loose ball at midfield and broke for the Gateway goal. After dodging a few defenders, Delamy found himself on the left side of the Gateway net. Facing oncoming goalie Mike Arel, Delamy hooked a shot around the keeper and into the back of the net for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.

Delamy proceeded to run off the field and rip off his jersey in celebration as his team roared him on.

After the game’s final whistle, Delamy was still shaking in excitement.

“Oh, I felt really crazy,” Delamy said. “Because I had just scored the game-winning goal to send our team to the western Massachusetts finals, I just took off my shirt and went wild.”

The first-half tempo was controlled by Hopkins, but the Gateway defense held the Golden Hawks’ attack to very few quality chances.

It wasn’t until the 25th minute when Hopkins struck first. John Martinez sent a through ball into the Gators’ box, and forward Tyler Szymkowicz slipped the ball past keeper Mike Arel (eight saves) for a 1-0 lead.

Gateway answered just before halftime on a goal by Josh Baillargeon. Hopkins goalie Ben Pitta (three saves) fumbled a Gateway free kick and the ball landed at Baillargeon’s feet as he ran into the net in the 40th minute. Nick McClaffin was given an assist.

The two sides played evenly in the second half until Delamy’s goal.

Gateway finished 14-5-2.

“I couldn’t be any more proud of them,” Gateway coach Tim Gamble said. “They stuck to the plan. We had a couple different plans going into tonight to mark different players, play particular traps, schemes, and they did everything that I asked them to execute. We knew that we were going to sacrifice a little bit on the offensive end. With our physical prowess up front, we hoped we could leak one out and hopefully get a couple more corner kicks or restarts. We converted pretty much on one there and that really set the tone for the second half. We went toe to toe with the Western Mass. champ, and I couldn’t be more proud. I’ve got 10 seniors and they’ve done everything I’ve asked them to do. I’m as proud as I can be. In a one-goal ballgame, that’s as competitive as you can be.”

Monson beat Lenox 6-0 in the other semifinal at Northampton High School. Hopkins won the Division 3 championship last season.

“I think we prepare for every game, every match a little differently for the opponent,” Campbell said. “I think you’ll see us come out as prepared as we can be and give as much as we got to get that result.”

Jacob Kosakowski assisted on Delamy’s goal for Hopkins.