Hopkins boys soccer trounces Lee, advances to semifinals
Evan Delaney of Hopkins Academy, left, looks for a shot while defended by Jake Simon of Lee Monday at Hopkins. Purchase photo reprints »
Paul Delamy of Hopkins Academy, right, shoots against Lee goalkeeper Heamon Williams while defended by Jake Simon Monday at Hopkins. Purchase photo reprints »
Evan Delaney of Hopkins Academy, right, makes a play for the ball against Jack Harding of Lee Monday at Hopkins. Purchase photo reprints »
Tim Hanlon of Hopkins Academy, front, scores on a penalty kick against Lee Monday at Hopkins. Purchase photo reprints »
Tim Knightly of Hopkins Academy, top, scores with a header on Lee goalie Heamon Williams, left, while defended by Jake Simon Monday at Hopkins. Purchase photo reprints »
Brennan Mitrolka of Hopkins Academy, left, moves the ball against Jake Simon of Lee Monday at Hopkins. Purchase photo reprints »
Evan Delaney of Hopkins Academy, left, scores while defended by Jake Simon of Lee Monday at Hopkins. Connor Quinlin looks on. Purchase photo reprints »
Greg Hannum of Hopkins Academy, left, passes ahead of Nate Tracy of Lee Monday at Hopkins. Purchase photo reprints »
Pat Knightly of Hopkins Academy, left, passes between Lee defenders Monday at Hopkins. Purchase photo reprints »
Tim Knightly of Hopkins Academy, left, and Jake Leprovost of Lee converge on the ball Monday at Hopkins. Purchase photo reprints »
HADLEY — Hopkins Academy had a corner kick before the game was even a minute old and a lead before four minutes were gone. Suspense disappeared shortly after.
The Golden Hawks had the pedal down from the opening kick and steamrolled Lee 10-0 in the quarterfinals of the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Boys Soccer Tournament Monday.
Hopkins (15-1-3) advanced to the semifinals to face No. 3 Westfield Voke, which beat No. 6 Sabis 2-1. Lee finished its season at 7-8-3.
Tyler Szymkowicz got things started in a hurry for the Hawks. Chad Sanderson fed him moving up the left wing and Szymkowicz accelerated diagonally toward the net. Goalkeeper Heamon Williams came out to cut off the angle, but he was too late as Szymkowicz poked it into the right side of the net 3 minutes, 13 seconds into the half.
Szymkowicz struck again 1:17 later. He headed Sean Quill’s aerial pass to the ground, took two steps through the defense and then fired the ball into the net to make it 2-0.
“Tyler is a worker,” Hopkins coach Justin Campbell said. “He just works and works and works. That’s what makes him something special. He doesn’t just settle for being speedy.”
Any hope Lee might have had of climbing out of its early hole disappeared when Brennan Mitrolka tiptoed through a pair of Panthers from the right side and buried a goal that made it 3-0 with 11:30 left.
Campbell said the start gave his team some breathing room, a rarity in postseason.
“We know how delicate tournament soccer is,” Campbell said. “We’ve been on both sides of it with this group. We know the importance of trying to get out and get a goal. It was nice to start that way.”
Paul Delamy didn’t get an assist on Szymkowicz’s third goal, but he made it happen. He made a nifty move to slip through the Lee defense, Williams came out and was called for the foul in the box when he took Delamy down.
Campbell sent Szymkowicz out for the penalty kick and the junior calmly kicked it inside the right post with 12:30 left in the half.
Szymkowicz repaid Delamy 3:30 later with a cross across the box that Delamy stopped and then popped in with eight minutes left in the half.
“We started off great, got and early goal and kept playing our hardest throughout the game,” Szymkowicz said.
Tim Hanlon, Tim Knightly, Evan Delaney, Mitrolka and Ethan Sanderson all scored in the second half as Hopkins remained focused despite the comfortable lead.
Ben Pitta made five saves in the shutout.
“Somewhere in this tournament we’re going to have to stay focused when it’s not seemingly in our hands,” Campbell said. “Today we started out the way we wanted to and got the result we wanted. But it’s going to be important to stay focused.”
Szymkowicz said Hopkins was already looking forward.
“This is just one game. We’ve got two more to go,” Szymkowicz said. “We try to play every game at our hardest. We try to not stop at all.”
Matt Vautour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.