Ludlow overwhelms Amherst in summer soccer semifinal

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  • Jayden Perez, left, of Amherst A, moves the ball against a Ludlow Idea A defender during the Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League semifinal, Thursday, Aug.1, 2019 at Amherst Regional Middle School. Amherst lost 4-1. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Dylan Robson, right, of Amherst A, lines up a shot against Ludlow Ideal A during the Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League semifinal, Thursday, Aug.1, 2019 at Amherst Regional Middle School. Amherst lost 4-1. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jayden Perez, of Amherst A, celebrates his goal against Ludlow Idea A during the Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League semifinal, Thursday, Aug.1, 2019 at Amherst Regional Middle School. Amherst lost 4-1. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • James Serhant, right, of Amherst A, goes to the ball against a Ludlow Ideal A defender during the Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League semifinal, Thursday, Aug.1, 2019 at Amherst Regional Middle School. Amherst lost 4-1. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Marcos Sotarello, front right, of Amherst A, prepares to pass to James Serhant, left, during the Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League semifinal against Ludlow Ideal A, Thursday, Aug.1, 2019 at Amherst Regional Middle School. Amherst lost 4-1. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Jayden Perez, right, of Amherst A, goes to the ball against a Ludlow Idea A defender during the Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League semifinal, Thursday, Aug.1, 2019 at Amherst Regional Middle School. Amherst lost 4-1. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

For the Gazette
Published: 8/1/2019 10:19:26 PM
Modified: 8/1/2019 10:19:13 PM

AMHERST — A flat first half caused Amherst to fall to Ludlow 4-1 in the Pioneer Valley Summer Soccer League Division A semifinal Thursday night at Amherst Middle School. Ludlow will face Longmeadow in the final at 7:15 p.m. Saturday at Lusitano Stadium.

With only two substitutes on the bench, the Hurricanes (9-3-0) struggled to keep up with Ludlow’s pace.

Ludlow (9-2-1) got on the board early from a corner kick in the 14th minute. Mike Tuck gathered it in the box and put it in the back of the net to make it 1-0.

It didn’t take long for Ludlow to strike again. Michael Reilly sent a free kick by Amherst goalie Lucas Morales-Fernandez to make it 2-0 in the 18th minute.

“It was clear we lost our confidence in that first half,” Amherst coach Sam Camera said. “They were just beating us to the ball. We were getting some 50-50 balls, but they were beating us to the ball.”

Amherst struggled advancing the ball across midfield and rarely generated scoring chances in the first half. One of their few chances came when Matthew Firinne got a good jump on the ball and looked like he might break out, but as he entered the box, Ludlow goalie Emilio Mancuso dove toward Firinne and covered the ball.

“As a captain you gotta push everyone,” Amherst captain Brayan Rivas said. “Even if we’re losing you gotta work harder every time.”

Late in the first half, Ludlow capitalized on another corner kick when Tuck netted his second of the game on a highlight reel-worthy bicycle kick that made it 3-0.

Minutes later Ethan Lapa kicked a pass in midair past Morales-Fernandez to make it 4-0.

Given the chance to take a breath and regroup, Amherst came out hard in the second half and dominated play.

“In the second half we picked up the pace, we communicated better, we made some shifts in our formation and we were showing to the ball,” Camera said. “I think we dominated in the second half.”

The biggest moment of the game for Amherst came a little over 15 minutes into the second half when Rivas’ free kick set up a rebound for Jayden Perez, who got a foot on the ball and sent it past Mancuso.

“I tried to go through the wall and it worked out,” Rivas said. “If it was a little more powerful I think it would have gone in but we got the rebound, and we scored the goal.”

“I knew I had to make the run because any rebound is always a chance to score,” added Perez.

Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, they were unable to cut into the Ludlow lead any further and their summer league season ended.

After a successful regular season and deep playoff run, there is plenty to look forward to as the high school season is just around the corner.

“There’s good leadership on this team,” Camera said. “I think the captains are really showing up for the whole team so I think we’ll have a good season.”




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