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Lenox edges Granby girls soccer in Division 3 semifinals

This year’s 1-0 defeat came in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semifinals at Szot Park. Last season’s was in the championship game.

“Obviously we hoped to come out on top, but if we had to lose to anyone it might as well be to Lenox,” Rams defender Noelle Menard said. “Both teams play with a ton of heart, and all our games are tough.”

Freshman Allesandra Arace converted a break off a perfect ball up the right side from Hayden Zinchuk with just under 15 minutes left in the first half for the only goal.

The top-seeded Millionaires (13-4-2) will face No. 6 Gateway Regional (13-4-2) in the sectional final at 11 a.m. Monday at Westfield State.

No. 4 Granby (17-1-1) lost for the first time since last year’s final. The Rams’ season ended before the sectional title game for the first time in four years.

“We had an outstanding season, but we really thought this was going to be our year,” Granby forward Rachel Mick said.

The Rams won a 1-0 regular-season meeting in Lenox on Oct. 24, which coach Nick Boorman called “the game of the year.”

“The only real difference between the two games was that they scored first” Saturday, said Granby defender Alex White. “That one goal swings the momentum so much, but it also motivated us the rest of the way.”

The Rams had a golden opportunity to tie the game with 21:07 left in regulation, but White hit the crossbar on a penalty kick following a hand ball in the box.

Granby kept the pressure on over the final 20 minutes, but could not beat keeper Kathy Prescott (three saves). Mick had a number of strong runs throughout the contest to make Prescott and the Millionaires’ defense work hard.

“Their midfielders are really strong, and it was tough to get through them,” said Rams midfielder Brooke Labrie. “After they scored, it took us a little while to get back into playing our game.”

Goalkeeper Brittany Hauschild made five stops for Granby, including a diving save on Arace in the first half.

It was the final game for an outstanding senior class, made up of captains Mick, White, Menard and Labrie as well as Emmarose Quesnel.

“This is the closest team I’ve ever played for,” said Menard. “It’s heartbreaking right now, but we had a great season and it was worth the ride.”

“This senior class is outstanding, second to none,” Boorman said. “They accomplished so much for this program. The whole team played really well, but Lenox is a great team and deserved to win.”

Michael Wilkinson can be reached at mwilkinson@gazettenet.com.

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