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Hopkins shakes rival Smith in boys Division 3 soccer final

  • The Hopkins Academy team celebrates their 3-1 win against Smith Academy in  the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.

    The Hopkins Academy team celebrates their 3-1 win against Smith Academy in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tyler Szymkowicz of Hopkins Academy, left, and Seaver Rickert of Smith Academy battle for the ball during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.

    Tyler Szymkowicz of Hopkins Academy, left, and Seaver Rickert of Smith Academy battle for the ball during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Quinn Rickert of Smith Academy, left, and Tim Knightly of Hopkins Academy battle for the ball during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.

    Quinn Rickert of Smith Academy, left, and Tim Knightly of Hopkins Academy battle for the ball during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Paul Delamy of Hopkins Academy, left, and Keith Natale of Smith Academy battle for the ball during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.

    Paul Delamy of Hopkins Academy, left, and Keith Natale of Smith Academy battle for the ball during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Seaver Rickert of Smith Academy, left, tries to box out Tyler Szymkowicz of Hopkins Academy during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.

    Seaver Rickert of Smith Academy, left, tries to box out Tyler Szymkowicz of Hopkins Academy during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Josh Martinez of Hopkins Academy, center right, passes against Joe Afflitto of Smith Academy during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. Nathaniel Hanson, left, and Sean Quill look on.

    Josh Martinez of Hopkins Academy, center right, passes against Joe Afflitto of Smith Academy during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. Nathaniel Hanson, left, and Sean Quill look on. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Evan Delaney of Hopkins Academy, top, heads the ball beside Seaver Rickert of Smith Academy during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. Keith Natale, left, and Joe Afflitto look on.<br/>

    Evan Delaney of Hopkins Academy, top, heads the ball beside Seaver Rickert of Smith Academy during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. Keith Natale, left, and Joe Afflitto look on.
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Seaver Rickert of Smith Academy, left, passes beside Pat Knightly of Hopkins Academy during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.

    Seaver Rickert of Smith Academy, left, passes beside Pat Knightly of Hopkins Academy during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tyler Szymkowicz of Hopkins Academy, left, and Quinn Rickert of Smith Academy battle for the ball during last year's Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final at Westfield State University.

    Tyler Szymkowicz of Hopkins Academy, left, and Quinn Rickert of Smith Academy battle for the ball during last year's Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final at Westfield State University. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tim Knightly of Hopkins Academy, left, heads the ball in front of Quinn Rickert of Smith Academy during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.

    Tim Knightly of Hopkins Academy, left, heads the ball in front of Quinn Rickert of Smith Academy during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tim Hanlon of Hopkins Academy, second from left, and Nathaniel Hanson of Smith Academy, center, battle for the ball as Mat Sulda, second from right, and Jacob Kosakowski keep pace during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.

    Tim Hanlon of Hopkins Academy, second from left, and Nathaniel Hanson of Smith Academy, center, battle for the ball as Mat Sulda, second from right, and Jacob Kosakowski keep pace during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. Purchase photo reprints »

  • The Hopkins Academy team celebrates the first goal of their 3-1 win against Smith Academy, by Tyler Szymkowicz, second from right, during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.<br/>

    The Hopkins Academy team celebrates the first goal of their 3-1 win against Smith Academy, by Tyler Szymkowicz, second from right, during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Mat Sulda of Smith Academy, left, and Quinn Rickert celebrate Rickert's goal during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.

    Mat Sulda of Smith Academy, left, and Quinn Rickert celebrate Rickert's goal during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Mat Sulda of Smith Academy, right, and Quinn Rickert celebrate Rickert's goal during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. Joe Afflitto looks on.

    Mat Sulda of Smith Academy, right, and Quinn Rickert celebrate Rickert's goal during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. Joe Afflitto looks on. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Mat Sulda of Smith Academy, top, heads the ball beside John Martinez of Hopkins Academy during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. From left, looking on, are Tyler Szymkowicz, Austin Rogers and Joe Afflitto.<br/><br/>

    Mat Sulda of Smith Academy, top, heads the ball beside John Martinez of Hopkins Academy during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. From left, looking on, are Tyler Szymkowicz, Austin Rogers and Joe Afflitto.

    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Mat Sulda of Smith Academy, center, gets past Sean Quill of Hopkins Academy as Hopkins goalie Ben Pitta stands ready during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.

    Mat Sulda of Smith Academy, center, gets past Sean Quill of Hopkins Academy as Hopkins goalie Ben Pitta stands ready during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. Purchase photo reprints »

  • The Hopkins Academy team celebrates their 3-1 win against Smith Academy in  the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.
  • Tyler Szymkowicz of Hopkins Academy, left, and Seaver Rickert of Smith Academy battle for the ball during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.
  • Quinn Rickert of Smith Academy, left, and Tim Knightly of Hopkins Academy battle for the ball during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.
  • Paul Delamy of Hopkins Academy, left, and Keith Natale of Smith Academy battle for the ball during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.
  • Seaver Rickert of Smith Academy, left, tries to box out Tyler Szymkowicz of Hopkins Academy during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.
  • Josh Martinez of Hopkins Academy, center right, passes against Joe Afflitto of Smith Academy during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. Nathaniel Hanson, left, and Sean Quill look on.
  • Evan Delaney of Hopkins Academy, top, heads the ball beside Seaver Rickert of Smith Academy during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. Keith Natale, left, and Joe Afflitto look on.<br/>
  • Seaver Rickert of Smith Academy, left, passes beside Pat Knightly of Hopkins Academy during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.
  • Tyler Szymkowicz of Hopkins Academy, left, and Quinn Rickert of Smith Academy battle for the ball during last year's Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final at Westfield State University.
  • Tim Knightly of Hopkins Academy, left, heads the ball in front of Quinn Rickert of Smith Academy during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.
  • Tim Hanlon of Hopkins Academy, second from left, and Nathaniel Hanson of Smith Academy, center, battle for the ball as Mat Sulda, second from right, and Jacob Kosakowski keep pace during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.
  • The Hopkins Academy team celebrates the first goal of their 3-1 win against Smith Academy, by Tyler Szymkowicz, second from right, during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.<br/>
  • Mat Sulda of Smith Academy, left, and Quinn Rickert celebrate Rickert's goal during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.
  • Mat Sulda of Smith Academy, right, and Quinn Rickert celebrate Rickert's goal during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. Joe Afflitto looks on.
  • Mat Sulda of Smith Academy, top, heads the ball beside John Martinez of Hopkins Academy during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University. From left, looking on, are Tyler Szymkowicz, Austin Rogers and Joe Afflitto.<br/><br/>
  • Mat Sulda of Smith Academy, center, gets past Sean Quill of Hopkins Academy as Hopkins goalie Ben Pitta stands ready during the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament final Monday at Westfield State University.

WESTFIELD — Justin Campbell was still dripping long after his Hopkins Academy boys soccer team’s 3-1 victory in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament championship Monday afternoon at Westfield State University.

Campbell had told his program some time ago that there was only one accomplishment worthy of a water cooler bath and the Golden Hawks made sure to give him one at the final whistle of the team’s first championship victory since 2003 with the win over rival Smith Academy.

“I had one a few years back when we clinched a league title after not winning one for a few years,” Campbell said. “But I told the kids a couple years ago there would be no more unless we did this.”

Winning WMass “is our goal every year,” he added. “We usually get to the tournament. We usually seed high, but the goal the last couple years has been ‘let’s not just get to the tournament and seed high, let’s get to the tournament and advance and win it.’ That’s been the difference the last couple years.

“This is our Super Bowl. It is so good to have the kids works so hard and realize their goals. That’s why we do this.”

The title was Campbell’s first at Hopkins and avenged a 2-1 defeat to Lenox in last year’s championship that was filled with controversy.

“That motivated us totally,” senior defender Sean Quill said. “We wanted to get back here and take back what we deserved. We needed it.”

Hopkins will play Central Mass. champion Sutton (18-1-1) in the state semifinals Wednesday at Westfield State at 7 p.m.

Last year, the Sammies defeated Lenox in penalty kicks and then won the state championship 3-1 over Georgetown.

“I called them the Lenox of central Mass.,” Campbell said. “They’ve won the last two or three in a row and have quite a pedigree. We’ll give them what we’ve got.”

After a scoreless first half Monday, Tyler Szymkowicz scored twice and Paul Delamy added a goal and an assist for the No. 2 Golden Hawks (18-1-2).

“We know that Hopkins has a very good offense. It was just a matter of time,” said Smith Academy coach Jason Duncan, whose No. 4-seeded squad finished the year 15-5-2. “We held them off, but we started playing too much defense in the second half. We needed to put more pressure on their defense to take their offense out of the game. We probably had about 15-20 minutes in the second half where we just didn’t do that. They have a couple of very good offensive players and you can only hold those guys off for so long.”

After a scoreless 55 minutes, the game took a wild turn with three goals in 43 seconds.

First, Delamy fed a pass to Szymkowicz on the right side. The junior forward smacked a side kick out of mid-air just over the reach of Smith Academy goalie Cameron Woodward (seven saves) and under the crossbar for a 1-0 lead with 25:20 remaining.

“I saw the ball coming and thought I had a small chance to put it in,” Szymkowicz said. “In a big game like this, you’ve got to take what you can get, so I tried to put it on net and it worked out.”

After a Falcons timeout, the Golden Hawks immediately doubled their lead when they caused a quick turnover and Brennan Mitrolka sent a through ball down the middle. Delamy outran the defense and punched the ball into the net with 24:59 left.

“When Brennan played the through ball, I just wanted it more than the” defenders, Delamy said. “So I just sprinted hard to get to it first and got the goal.”

The Falcons responded, however, quickly bringing the ball into the Hopkins box and Quinn Rickert put away Mat Sulda’s feed to cut the deficit in half with 24:37 left.

Hopkins then called timeout to “Slow it down and say there is a lot of game left,” Campbell said. “We don’t like to give up goals. That’s only the sixth one we’ve allowed. But if you are going to give up one in the Western Mass. finals, you might as well score three.”

The Golden Hawks had allowed just one goal in their previous eight games before Rickert’s tally.

Delamy then set up Hopkins’ third score with 17:30 remaining when he drew a foul in the box.

“Paul played great. Paul played the way we need him to play,” Campbell said. “When he plays like that, we are dangerous.”

Szymkowicz buried the resulting PK and the Hopkins defense, anchored by goalie Ben Pitta (10 saves) along with Ethan Wenner, Tim Hanlon, Jacob Kosakowski and Quill, kept the Falcons off the board the rest of the way.

“Obviously, we would have preferred to go home with a different trophy,” said Duncan, whose team beat No. 1 Lenox 1-0 in the semifinals. “We made a good Hopkins team beat us. We didn’t quit. They are good. They should have been the one seed. That’s the best team we played all year.”

The loss marked the final game for Smith Academy seniors Seaver Rickert, Nat Hanson and Mat Sulda.

“I’m totally proud” of the team, Duncan said. “We graduated 12 guys last year and we’re in the Western Mass. finals this year. So much of that is Seaver and Mat and Nat leading with a positive example and showing these guys how to do it the right way. The sheer number of guys I lost last year doesn’t compare to the guys I’m going to lose this year in terms of the impact they’ve had, including five years for Mat and Seaver.”

Three of the Falcons’ five losses this season came to Hopkins. The Golden Hawks won 3-0 on Sept. 14 and 3-1 on Oct. 22, but Smith was undermanned in both regular season contests due to illness and injury.

“We were kind of looking forward to playing them when we were all healthy,” Duncan said. “It’s pretty much the same score, but I think the game was a lot more competitive and a lot tighter than a 3-1 game indicates. The first half was pretty even, and they won the second half. That’s soccer.”

Campbell, meanwhile, said he was sweating out the first half.

“We got through the first half,” he said. “Smith played an outstanding game. It was a great game plan. They took it to us in the first half. Then we figured we came down here, we might as well wake up and try to play a game. But they played an outstanding game. Smith Academy is a great side. It might make it a little extra special to beat them in the finals.”

Jim Pignatiello can be reached at jpignatiello@gazettenet.com.

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