Division 3 boys soccer: Frontier pulls away from Monument to reach semifinals

  • Frontier Regional’s Alex Gheorghita, right, and Monument’s Tristan Alston jump up for a header during the first half of their Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament quarterfinal. Frontier won 4-1. Visit gazettenet.fom for more photos. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier's Ethan LaFleur (3) gets a shot past Monument defender Will Casarsa (13) for a goal in the first half on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 in South Deerfield. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier's Doug Hanieski (19) and Ben Morse (18) celebrate a goal by Ethan LaFleur (3) in the first half against Monument on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 in South Deerfield. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier's Connor Bagdon (9) contends for possession with Monument's Kosta Cami (15) on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 in South Deerfield. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier's Ethan LaFleur (3) and Monument's Will Casarsa (13) jump up for a header in the first half on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 in South Deerfield. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

For the Gazette
Wednesday, November 08, 2017

SOUTH DEERFIELD — It was a long seven days for the Frontier Regional boys soccer team.

The Red Hawks got back on the field Tuesday night in the quarterfinals of the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament, a week after a disappointing loss in the regular-season finale to Belchertown.

On the strength of a huge second half, No. 3 Frontier pulled away for a 4-1 win over No. 6 Monument Mountain.

The win propelled the Red Hawks (12-2-4) into the semifinals against No. 2 Southwick (13-3-1), Thursday at 7 p.m. at Szot Park in Chicopee.

“That loss (to Belchertown) left a sour taste in our mouths,” Frontier coach Dale Totman said. “We wanted to move on, leave that in the past. It’s a new season in the playoffs. We’ve been building all season for this. I’m proud of the way the guys got the job done.”

Frontier led 1-0 at halftime thanks to a goal from Ethan LaFleur in the 13th minute.

Monument (8-7-3) nearly tied the game just before intermission, however, as Nate Lacombe’s header off a corner kick hit the post with 2:20 remaining.

Monument’s hopes for a comeback took a hit when junior midfielder Noel Powell went down late in the opening frame with an injury and didn’t return.

Frontier doubled its lead in the 50th minute, as a brilliant bit of individual work from Ben Arnold made it a 2-0 lead. Arnold hauled in possession of the ball, flicked it past a Monument defender and got in alone on the penalty area. His left-footed shot found the back of the net against charging Monument goalkeeper Kevin Kelly (three saves).

“That little triangle between LaFleur, (Connor) Bagdon and (Zach) Hamilton is really tough to defend,” Monument coach Matt Naventi said. “The combinations they play, they can keep you off balance. We gave away that goal in the first half and that changed things into the second half.”

Tim Barrington made it 3-0 in the 59th minute, as the Frontier offense cashed in on its opportunities. LaFleur and Hamilton set things up, working a nice give-and-go that ended with Barrington tipping in a shot on the back post.

Hamilton continued the offensive spree with seven minutes remaining in regulation. Connor Waitkus did the heavy lifting on the final goal, charging up the right side and sliding a pass across. LaFleur eventually found Hamilton, who placed a shot into the corner for a commanding 4-0 lead.

Monument got on the board with 2:16 remaining in the game. Lacombe finished off a wild scramble in the box, slotting a low shot through traffic and past Frontier goalkeeper Peter Bronke (two saves).

“I wouldn’t say (the second half) was our best half of the season possession-wise or anything like that, but I think it was by far our most intense half of the season,” Totman said. “We finished better today than we have all year. I told the guys, ‘You have to finish in the playoffs,’ and it was nice to see us be able to do that.”