Smith Academy upsets Lenox to reach boys Division 3 soccer final
Nat Hanson and the Smith Academy boys soccer team ended Lenox’s three-year reign in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament with a 1-0 semifinal win Saturday at Szot Park in Chicopee.
Hanson put home a cross from Tyler Gay with 3 minutes, 59 seconds remaining as the No. 4 Falcons (15-4-2) held off the No. 1 Millionaires (7-7-5) to advance to the title game.
“We knew coming in that we could win this game and when we had the chance, Nat finished a perfect service and the game was ours,” Duncan said. “Individually, Nat took it upon himself to get us a goal, but it took an overall team effort to make that stand.”
Smith Academy will take on rival and No. 2 Hopkins Academy (15-1-3) for the title on Monday at Westfield State at 1:15 p.m.
On Saturday, the Falcons just missed on a pair of corner chances — one in each half — before finally converting their winner.
“We work on it in practice all the time, and Tyler delivered a perfect pass,” Hanson said to The Berkshire Eagle. “He got the ball to me right where I wanted it.”
Lenox had two good scoring chances on the day, first when a goal was waved off because the Millionaires obstructed goalkeeper Cameron Woodward (eight saves) in the first half. Lenox appeared to score on the play, but the tally was waved off because of the violation.
The Millionaires then seemed poised to take a 1-0 lead with 10 minutes left, but Woodward came through with a big save to keep the game scoreless.
“Our defense and Cam came up huge today,” Duncan said. “Lenox only had one really good look and Cam came out and snuffed it.”
Duncan credited the play of Mat Sulda, Joe Afflitto, Quinn Rickert, Seaver Rickert, Keith Natale and Harry Kennedy in thwarting Lenox’s pressure.