Division 4 boys soccer: Goals elude Hopkins Academy in quarterfinal loss to Mount Everett

Staff writer
Published: 11/7/2018 7:19:02 PM

WESTFIELD — A shade under 50 minutes seemed like enough time for an equalizer.

The Hopkins Academy boys soccer team conceded the first goal of its Western Massachusetts Division 4 Tournament quarterfinal against Mount Everett at the half-hour mark, Wednesday at Roots Athletic complex.

Nikos Casivant teed up a free kick and fired a shot on frame. Hopkins keeper Erik Berg halted the attempt, but couldn’t control the ball. Jack Carpenter positioned himself at the far post and blasted home the rebound.

“It was an unfortunate goal because it came off of a free kick that I don’t think was earned. My keeper got his hands to it twice and somehow it’s in the back of the net,” Hopkins Academy coach C.J. Holt said. “It’s one of those goals that’s haunting in that way. We knew we had plenty of time.”

The fifth-seeded Golden Hawks pressed for the remainder of the game trying to find a goal, but couldn’t equalize. The No. 4 Eagles held on for a 1-0 win and a trip to the semifinals, Thursday at 5 p.m. at Wahconah in Dalton. They’ll face No. 1 Lenox, a 4-0 winner over No. 8 Smith Academy.

“I’m so proud of this team, how far they came, how many seniors we lost last year, to come back and get to the postseason,” Hopkins Academy senior Gate Spanknebel said. “Everybody looked down on us and didn’t think we would make it, but I’m really proud of what we did.”

Hopkins Academy (10-8-1) nearly sent the game to overtime with a finishing flurry. The Golden Hawks earned three free kicks and a corner in the last 13 minutes, but couldn’t put a finishing touch on the ball.

Dougie Pierce executed a bicycle kick in the 73rd minute after a free kick bounced to him in the box. His shot went right to Mount Everett keeper Patrick Silk.

Silk also denied Pierce on a near post shot following a through ball in the game’s dying minutes. That led to a corner that Hopkins couldn’t put away.

“We had a bunch of chances. All of our execution was there except the finish,” Spanknebel said. “It’s frustrating, but I know my team would work until the end.”

Hopkins avoided disaster in the 78th minute with so many players and keeper Jack Feltovic pressed forward for the corner. Mount Everett released Armando Bautista-Cruz on a long pass toward an open net. The Golden Hawks chased him down and forced a long attempt that missed just outside the left post.

Feltovic was in the game because Berg left with an injury after colliding with a Mount Everett forward clearing a lofted ball in the box. Feltovic had to stop a breakaway shot one-on-one only a few minutes after leaving the bench.

“He knows that’s his role to be focused and ready to be called on,” Holt said. “Felty did awesome, the save he made kept us in the game in that moment.”

It was the final game for six Hopkins seniors: Austin Bushey, Jupiter Fetler, Liam Higgins, Pierce, Mark Peirce and Spanknebel.

“It’s exciting for the boys coming back because they have this experience now and this is a very important experience for them to have next year,” Holt said.

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

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