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Northampton, Amherst settle for 0-0 draw in boys soccer

AMHERST — There were plenty of chances, but in the end neither the Northampton nor the Amherst Regional boys soccer squads could put a shot in the back of the net as the teams battled to a scoreless draw Wednesday.

The Hurricanes controlled the tempo, outshot Northampton 14-2 and possessed the ball most of the game. The team also had nine corners, while the Blue Devils couldn’t muster one. However, the play of Northampton’s defense and goalie Jon Brodeur kept the Hurricanes at bay. Brodeur finished with seven key saves for the Blue Devils.

“We’re set up for a big last week,” an upbeat Northampton coach Andy Wood said. “We have two league games left, and we feel like we are coming together as a unit. After having intensity all season, we are finally seeing the work ethic pay off.”

The Blue Devils were coming off a 1-0 victory against Chicopee Comp on Tuesday. The win was Northampton’s second on the season. The momentum appeared to carry over into Wednesday’s battle against a strong Amherst offense as the Blue Devils (2-13-1) cleared or saved every chance the Hurricanes had.

“We’ve had this intensity all year long but just couldn’t string together a full game,” Wood said. “We have these last two games.”

The Hurricanes moved to 9-2-4 with the tie.

“We were slow to make decisions,” Amherst coach Michael Rudd said. “I think we didn’t have the normal energy that we have and did not combine well in the final third, which led to fewer chances than we usually create.”

Eric Gooden had a great chance for the Hurricanes, but his shot clanged off the right post late in the first half. Brandon Vazquez also had a chip shot in front of the net bounce off the crossbar.

Northampton’s best opportunity came early in the first half when the ball was stolen from Amherst goalie Matt Santana well outside the box and pushed out to midfield where a shot was put on net. Santana, who finished with two saves, just barely made it back to the net to save the would-be goal.

The Hurricanes have already clinched a playoff spot in the Western Massachusetts Division 1 tournament. The defending sectional champion is tied with rival Ludlow for first place in the Smith Division.

“In terms of the playoffs, we aren’t ready yet,” Rudd said. “We’re still preparing and trying to put together full games.”

Amherst hosts East Longmeadow, Friday at 7 p.m.

Northampton, meanwhile, plays at Ludlow at 6 p.m. Friday.

Northampton striker Yann Konan was carted off the field in the 34th minute with an apparent leg injury and did not return.

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