Division 4 girls soccer: Lenox eliminates Gateway Regional in semifinals

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  • Erin Harris, right, of Gateway Regional, moves the ball against Hannah Lagonia, of Lenox, during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. Hannah Duggan, left, follows. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Nina Iglesias, right, of Gateway Regional, gets to a pass before Claire Lynch, of Lenox, during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Erin Harris, right, of Gateway Regional, tries to get off a shot against Lenox goalie Sophie Patella during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Erin Harris, left, of Gateway Regional, moves the ball against Hannah Lagonia, of Lenox, during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Larissa Kingsley, right, of Gateway Regional, goes to the ball against Molly Knight, of Lenox, during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Erin Harris, right, of Gateway Regional, moves the ball against Molly Knight, of Lenox, during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Rebecca Hyjek, left, of Gateway Regional, passes away from Mary Elliot, of Lenox, during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ava Auclair, left, of Gateway Regional, goes to the ball against Molly Knight, of Lenox, during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Peyton Bucko, left, of Gateway Regional, begins a pass against Ari Roberts, of Lenox, during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Rebecca Hyjek, left, of Gateway Regional, gets control of a pass beside Hannah Lagonia, of Lenox, during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Erin Harris, left, of Gateway Regional, moves the ball against Lenox defenders Erin Czelusniak, right, and Taylor Knight during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. Gateway's Hannah Duggan keeps pace. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ava Auclair, left, of Gateway Regional, moves the ball against Hannah Lagonia, of Lenox, during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 at Chicopee Comp. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 11/13/2019 8:07:23 PM

CHICOPEE — Gateway Regional’s midfield unit did a great job of stretching Lenox Memorial’s defense and creating scoring opportunities on Wednesday night, but Sophie Patella was just better.

“That goalkeeper saved at least five great shots,” Gateway coach Steve Estelle said. “We had better shots then them. We had four or five and she came out and made great stops.”

Stellar goalkeeping pushed third-seeded Lenox past No. 2 Gateway, 1-0, in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 Girls Soccer Tournament semifinals at Chicopee Comp.

Lenox (10-8-1) will play either No. 1 Granby (13-4-2) or No. 4 Ware (10-9-0) in the finals, Sunday at noon at Springfield Central.

Molly Knight scored the Millionaires’ lone goal. Solia Herndon-Schmid had the assist.

Erin Harris has been the Gators’ go-to scorer throughout the regular season. Lenox’s defense collapsed on the senior whenever she got the ball in the final third.

“They marked Erin,” Estelle said. “That goalie shut her down two or three times. That’s what the difference in the game was to me.”

The Gators started with momentum early in the first half by creating opportunities out of midfield. Two minutes into the game, Gators midfielder Peyton Bucko carried the ball down the right wing and sent a shot on net, but Patella ran out and made the stop.

Ten minutes later, Bucko received a pass from Ava Auclair down the right wing. Bucko cut in toward the middle of the field and sent a high looping shot over Patella’s head, but it grazed over the crossbar.

Midway through the opening half Gateway earned back-to-back corner kicks. Besides a headed effort from Harris that went wide left on the first corner, not much came from the chances.

The Millionaires dictated the tempo in the latter part of the half. With 19 minutes to go, Erin Czelusniak weaved through two defenders on the left side and sent a low shot in, but Gators goalkeeper Donna Viel made the save.

Lenox scored a few minutes later off a poor clearance from Gateway. The Millionaires sent a ball into the box from midfield. A Gators defender stepped up to clear the ball, but it fell to Herndon-Schmid. Once she got control of the ball, she pushed it over to Knight. She placed a hard shot inside the right post to give Lenox the lead, 1-0, with 17 minutes to go in the first half.

Gateway got two great opportunities at the end of the half. With eight minutes to go, the Gators earned a free kick at the top of the box. Auclair stepped up and put a shot on net, but Patella made the save.

Three minutes later, Auclair slid a pass behind three Lenox defenders to get Harris one on one with Patella. Harris tried to chip the ball over her head, but Patella got a hand on it and punched it clear.

Auclair created scoring chances with low crosses from the wing in the second half and got two solid shots on goal, but nothing came of the opportunities.

After surrendering the first-half goal, the Gators’ defense, particularly the midfield, kept Lenox’s attack at bay.

“You can’t say enough about Charlotte Kazalski, Nina Iglesias and Hannah Coffey,” Estelle said. “Our diamond played very well today.”

The Gators sent players forward in the last five minutes and almost scored with a high looping shot from Bucko outside the box, but the ball grazed over the crossbar.

During the last few seasons, Gateway (13-3-2) hasn’t had a lot of depth. This year’s senior class had to play a lot of minutes through the regular season. Estelle was proud of how the group always stepped up to the challenge

“(The seniors) have been very important,” Estelle said. “We haven’t had a lot of subs the last few years, so the seniors played long and tough.”




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