Division 3 boys soccer: Mount Greylock pushes past Hampshire Regional in semifinals

Staff Writer
Published: 11/13/2019 8:40:54 PM

HOLYOKE — Red-faced and white-knuckled, Hampshire Regional held on.

Raiders keeper Colin Boyle turned away shot after shot from far and close, dipping and direct in sub-freezing weather. He saved Mount Greylock’s first 11 attempts to keep a scoreless deadlock in Wednesday’s Western Massachusetts Division 3 Boys Soccer Tournament semifinal.

“It’s just instincts. I’ve played with these guys for years,” Boyle said. “I thought, ‘go out there and play for them.’”

Boyle and the fifth-seeded Raiders’ defense held firm for 60 minutes. He blocked a Finnian Welch blast from inside the box after Greylock’s leading scorer shook three defenders, then the rebound dribbled to Boyle’s left. He dove to prevent the rebound shot, and the ball skipped across the back line for a corner. Welch lofted the kick toward the six-yard box, and John Skavlem dinked it over Boyle’s left shoulder for a lead.

“It was a cross coming, it looked like into my six (yard box), so I came out and lost it in the lights. I read it wrong,” Boyle said. “The kid had a great header, there’s not much you can do about it. Even if I was on my line, I’m not sure I could have saved it.”

Welch added a second six minutes later, and the top-seeded Mounties won 2-0 to advance to Saturday’s sectional final.

Greylock (15-2-1) will face No. 3 Belchertown, the defending champion, at 1:30 p.m. at Central. The Orioles (10-4-6) beat Pope Francis 3-2 on Tuesday. Belchertown has eliminated Mount Greylock from the past two postseasons and has won eight straight in the series.

“It’s gonna be a great game, they defend well and are very talented,” Mount Greylock coach Blair Dils said. “I think it’ll be a similar game to (Wednesday).”

Hampshire (10-5-4) didn’t flinch after allowing the first goal, timing its runs forward for an equalizer. The Mounties capitalized with a counter in one of those moments and drew a free kick from the left side of goal. Welch laced a shot above the wall and it dipped low to the left past Boyle diving to double Greylock’s lead.

“I don’t think out intensity dropped all game,” Hampshire coach Dan Moynahan said. “Unfortunately we didn’t create enough opportunities to score, and that was the difference.”

Cade LaChapelle gave Greylock fits down the left side early in the game. He tried to pick the top corner early on shots when Greylock keeper Oscar Low was off his line.

The Mounties sustained more pressure as the game continued, but Boyle and Hampshire stood firm. He finished with 12 saves, including a diving stop at full stretch in the 20th minute.

“He’s been our starting keeper since he was a freshman, and he keeps getting better every year,” Moynahan said. “I don’t know how he held on to a few of those saves, tremendous.”

Hampshire will graduate seven seniors after reaching the sectional semifinals for the first time since 2016.

“I’m so proud of this team. We peaked at the exact right time,” Moynahan said. “Our best games were in tournament, so I’m so happy for the seniors that they got to make a run at a championship. I think it was a successful season.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.

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