Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
M/cloudy
54°
M/cloudy
Hi 54° | Lo 35°

Hopkins falls to Sutton in state Division 3 boys soccer semifinal

  • Brennan Mitrolka of Hopkins Academy, right, and Jason Dimmick of Sutton converge on the ball during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0.

    Brennan Mitrolka of Hopkins Academy, right, and Jason Dimmick of Sutton converge on the ball during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Paul Delamy of Hopkins Academy, center, moves the ball between Sutton defenders Evan Culross, left, and Riley Steele during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0.

    Paul Delamy of Hopkins Academy, center, moves the ball between Sutton defenders Evan Culross, left, and Riley Steele during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tyler Szymkowicz of Hopkins Academy, left, goes to the ball against David Stuart of Sutton during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0.

    Tyler Szymkowicz of Hopkins Academy, left, goes to the ball against David Stuart of Sutton during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Evan Delaney of Hopkins Academy, top, and Ryan Elster of Sutton vie for control of an incoming pass during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0.

    Evan Delaney of Hopkins Academy, top, and Ryan Elster of Sutton vie for control of an incoming pass during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Greg Hannum of Hopkins Academy, right, heads the ball beside teammate Paul Delamy, center, and Tyler Doherty of Sutton during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0.

    Greg Hannum of Hopkins Academy, right, heads the ball beside teammate Paul Delamy, center, and Tyler Doherty of Sutton during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ben Pitta of Hopkins Academy, top, blocks a shot during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0.<br/>

    Ben Pitta of Hopkins Academy, top, blocks a shot during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0.
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ethan Wenner of Hopkins Academy, center, passes during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0.

    Ethan Wenner of Hopkins Academy, center, passes during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Sean Quill of Hopkins Academy, right, passes ahead of Justin Rothermich of Sutton during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0.

    Sean Quill of Hopkins Academy, right, passes ahead of Justin Rothermich of Sutton during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Brennan Mitrolka of Hopkins Academy, right, and Jason Dimmick of Sutton converge on the ball during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0.
  • Paul Delamy of Hopkins Academy, center, moves the ball between Sutton defenders Evan Culross, left, and Riley Steele during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0.
  • Tyler Szymkowicz of Hopkins Academy, left, goes to the ball against David Stuart of Sutton during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0.
  • Evan Delaney of Hopkins Academy, top, and Ryan Elster of Sutton vie for control of an incoming pass during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0.
  • Greg Hannum of Hopkins Academy, right, heads the ball beside teammate Paul Delamy, center, and Tyler Doherty of Sutton during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0.
  • Ben Pitta of Hopkins Academy, top, blocks a shot during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0.<br/>
  • Ethan Wenner of Hopkins Academy, center, passes during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0.
  • Sean Quill of Hopkins Academy, right, passes ahead of Justin Rothermich of Sutton during the state Division 3 semifinal Wednesday at Westfield State University. Hopkins lost 1-0.

WESTFIELD — In the early stages of Wednesday night’s Division 3 state semifinal, Sutton looked every bit like the defending state champion.

And although the Sammies emerged with a 1-0 victory over Hopkins Academy, by the time the teams left the field that distinction was blurred.

The Golden Hawks, backstopped by junior keeper Ben Pitta, weathered the early attack and settled in by the midpoint of the first half. A stalemate in the midfield ensued in a contest that appeared destined for overtime.

“We did some real nice things, and I thought we moved the ball quite well,” said Hopkins coach Justin Campbell. “We had four or five chances, just couldn’t bury them. That’s how these games are supposed to be, they’re all really tight. It’s unfortunate, but the guys played their hearts out.”

Pitta made eight saves, including three outstanding diving snags, but the game winner came with 13 minutes, 18 seconds remaining in regulation.

The defending state champion Sammies (19-1-1) will go for the repeat against Watertown (15-2-6) at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Worcester’s Foley Stadium.

Hopkins (17-2-3) saw its season come to a close after winning the program’s first sectional crown in nine years.

“You never like to end it this way, but we did a lot right to get this far,” Campbell said. “These kids played the game the right way all season and handled themselves well as classy young men. I wouldn’t expect anything less out of these guys.”

With just over 13 minutes left, the Sammies were awarded a free kick from 42 yards out near the left sideline. Joe Lacasse fired a low ball that was redirected by Justin Rothermick and deflected off a defender past a sprawling Pitta inside the near post.

“That was a tough one to swallow, because Ben was in perfect position but there was a deflection,” said Campbell. “It started to spin on him after the deflection. He still got to it but snuck in the corner.”

The Golden Hawks could only muster a single shot on keeper Gordy Smythe. Senior defender Sean Quill put in on with 5:25 to go in the first half. Just before, Paul Delamy nearly got his head on a direct kick.

Hopkins’ best chance to score came with roughly three minutes left before halftime. Delamy moved toward the right corner and made a perfect cross just past the near post. Evan Delaney charged in and headed it strongly but wide to the right. The shot likely would have beaten Smythe.

Despite a strong effort, Golden Hawks leading scorer Tyler Szymkowicz never had a clear shot at the goal. Sutton backs Jordan Elster and Lacasse were charged with marking the dynamic junior forward.

“Everybody knows what we have up front, and they had their eyes on Tyler and knew where he was,” said Campbell. “They kept good track of him, but he worked really hard and was able to shake a few people, trying to make things happen.”

Hopkins didn’t take a single corner kick all night, while Sutton earned three but couldn’t threaten on any of them.

The game could have gotten away from the Golden Hawks early if not for Pitta, who outstretched his entire body on a pair of sparkling saves in the first 22 minutes. He stopped a third near tally inside the final two minutes of the half.

“Ben made quality saves to keep us in it early on as we adjusted to the pace and their style of play,” said Campbell.

Three yellow cards were assessed, two to Hopkins players, including one to Pitta with about 17 minutes to play. He had to come out of the game until the next substitution and missed about 30 seconds of action.

The loss marked the final game for Hopkins seniors Quill, Greg Hannum, Ethan Wenner, Tim Knightly and Nick Thomann. Thomann was unable to play over the second half of the season due to a knee injury.

“We’re going to miss these guys, they were all an integral part of what we did this year, especially defensively,” said Campbell. “Sean was a four-year starter. Greg and Timmy helped me immensely in the midfield. And Ethan has been steady at wing back all season. You give up seven goals in 22 games, that’s a pretty good job.”

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

Legacy Comments0
There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.