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Granby girls soccer holds off Frontier in season opener

  • Julia Riordan, left, of Frontier Regional, moves the ball against Nora Young, of Granby, Wednesday at Herlihy Field in Whately. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kate Sarnacki, left, of Granby, celebrates her goal against Frontier Regional with Erin Mikalchus, Wednesday at Herlihy Field in Whately. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Summer Molin, right, of Granby, moves the ball against Olivia Denkiewicz, of Frontier Regional, Wednesday at Herlihy Field in Whately. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kate Sarnacki, left, of Granby, scores while defended by Sarah Meunier, of Frontier Regional, Wednesday at Herlihy Field in Whately. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Lilly Haley, left, of Frontier Regional, moves the ball against Caroline Cyr, of Granby, Wednesday at Herlihy Field in Whately. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kate Sarnacki, second from left, celebrates her goal against Frontier Regional with teammates Kaleigh Croteau, left, and Erin Michalchus, Wednesday at Herlihy Field in Whately. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Summer Molin, left, of Granby, shoots against Sarah Meunier, of Frontier Regional, Wednesday at Herlihy Field in Whately. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Mallory Beauregard, right, of Granby, goes to the ball against Kate Hickey, of Frontier Regional, Wednesday at Herlihy Field in Whately. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Granby Head Coach Bob Weaver talks to his team during their game against Frontier Regional, Wednesday at Herlihy Field in Whately. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Natalie Denkiewicz, left, of Frontier Regional, goes to the ball against Caroline Cyr, of Granby, Wednesday at Herlihy Field in Whately. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Tori Bowen, top, of Frontier Regional, heads the ball beside teammate Elaine LaBarbera and Granby defenders Summer Molin, center, and Kaleigh Croteau, Wednesday at Herlihy Field in Whately. GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS



@kylegrbwsk
Wednesday, September 07, 2016

WHATELY — Anxiety permeated the Granby girls soccer sideline.

The defending Division 4 Western Massachusetts champions watched their lead on Frontier Regional shrink from two goals to one.

Rams senior Kate Sarnacki kept asking Granby coach Bob Weaver, who was making his coaching debut, how much time was left. Was it 10 minutes? Five? Her Fitbit racked up pacing steps.

The referee then whistled three long blasts.

Granby prevailed 3-2 on Wednesday at Herlihy Field, running its unbeaten run against western Mass. competition to 22 games.

“It started to get nerve-wracking,” said Granby freshman Kaleigh Croteau.

She ensured the win in the 66th minute with her first career goal. Croteau took the ball near the midfield circle, dribbled into space and slotted the ball to the bottom-right corner to make the score 3-1.

Frontier made it interesting two minutes later.

The Red Hawks sent in a corner from the left that landed at Angela Shelf’s feet outside the 6-yard box in the center of the goal. Her first touch fired the ball backwards over her head and off the crossbar.

It landed at Sarah Meunier’s feet. She let it bounce and lofted a cross to the far post where Julia Riordan was waiting.

She squared it up with her left foot before it hit the ground and snuck a shot inside the right post in the 38th minute.

“I saw where the ball was coming, and I knew I could get it in,” Riordan said. “I wasn’t surprised.”

Riordan also scored Frontier’s first goal in the 49th minute. She finished a cross from Kara Felton to tie the game at 1-1.

Sarnacki initially put the Rams ahead in the 19th minute with a chip after receiving a long pass from fellow senior Erin Mikalchus.

“I definitely anticipated something, and I saw where the goalie was, so I had a good idea of what I needed to do with it,” Sarnacki said. “I did what I needed to do with it, so I got a goal.”

Any momentum gained from that tally started to drift away with Riordan’s first goal and an injury to Mikalchus six minutes later. She and Frontier keeper Alexa Boyden were both going for a through ball and arrived at the same time. Mikalchus flipped into the air and landed on her back. She left the game with her parents, holding her lower back.

Sarnacki also spent most of the second half on the sideline cheering and directing her younger teammates.

Sophomore Summer Molin regained Granby’s lead in the 58th minute on a feed from freshman Nora Young.

“The younger kids stepped up. We filled those gaps pretty quickly,” Sarnacki said. “It was awesome to see.”

Weaver will take the victory in his debut, but he had some notes for his team. Most of them centered around finishing.

Granby (1-0, 1-0 Pioneer North) outshot Frontier (0-1, 0-1 Pioneer North) 19-6 but only put nine of those attempts on goal.

“The effort was there. Our execution to finish, we need to have a better execution at the final 20-yard line and in,” Weaver said. “Overall the defense did OK. It was a really tough game throughout.”

Frontier will take pride in having pushed the defending champions.

“It was really exciting and fun. Last season when we played them it was negative and it was a lot harder,” Riordan said. “I think we gained a lot more confidence than we had last year and it turned out well. We lost, but we played great and we’re excited for the rest of the season.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com.