Girls soccer: Northampton’s ‘dirty goals’ lead to disjointed 3-0 win over Monument Mountain

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  • Northamton’s Chloe Denhart knocks the ball into the goal past Monument Mountain keeper Emily Mead and defender Isabella DeFelice in the first half Monday at David Wright Stadium in Northampton. The Blue Devils won 3-0. FOR THE GAZETTE/J. ANTHONY ROBERTS

  • Northamton’s Chloe Denhart attempts to manuver the ball towards the goal past Monument Mountain’s Marcella Tenuta in the first half Monday at David Wright Stadium in Northampton. The Blue Devils won 3-0. FOR THE GAZETTE / J. ANTHONY ROBERTS

  • Northampton’s Sofia Ciaglo maintains control the ball in front of Monument Mountain’s Eleanor Hull in the first half Monday at David Wright Stadium in Northampton. The Blue Devils won 3-0. FOR THE GAZETTE / J. ANTHONY ROBERTS

  • Northampton coach Vanessa Butynski gives instructions to her players prior to the start of the game Monday at David Wright Stadium in Northampton. The Blue Devils won 3-0. FOR THE GAZETTE / J. ANTHONY ROBERTS

  • Northamton keeper Caroline Riordon makes a diving save  in the first half Monday at David Wright Stadium in Northampton. The Blue Devils won 3-0. FOR THE GAZETTE / J. ANTHONY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 10/11/2021 9:12:03 PM

NORTHAMPTON – Chloe Denhart raced toward Monument Mountain keeper Emily Mead with the ball at her feet and the defense in the past. The Northampton junior forward’s final touch sent the shot wide in the first 30 seconds of the Blue Devils’ girls soccer match against the Spartans, but it proved a concept: Northampton could break down the Monument Mountain back line whenever it wanted.

“That’s setting the tone off. We’re here to be aggressive, we’re here to win,” Denhart said. “We want to put the ball in the net. Even though I missed, it set the tone that we’re going to be aggressive for the game.”

That aggression paid off with three goals in the next 30 minutes, and the Blue Devils pushed past Monument Mountain 3-0 at David Wright Stadium on Monday. While Denhart’s chance emerged from strong team play and passing, grit birthed both of her two goals.

In the 11th minute, Denhart put just enough power on to a ball from Amelia Achmad’s head to bounce it around Mead for a 1-0 lead.

Denhart struck again seven minutes later. Mead couldn’t secure a Northampton shot after saving it, and Denhart pounced on the loose ball in the six-yard box for a 2-0 lead 18 minutes in.

“We call them dirty goals,” Denhart said. “It’s just being aggressive. It wasn’t, honestly, our best game, but we were offensively aggressive in the first few minutes, and that saved us for the rest of the game.”

Abigail Achmad tacked on a third goal in the 30th minute. Caroline Skubiszewski slid her a pass primarily to move the ball away from a mess of Monument Mountain defenders with Mea on the ground. Abigail Achmad popped it over everyone into the corner of the net in the 30th minute.

“It was all right place, right time,” Abigail Achmad said. “We wanted to take the keeper on and get her out there.”

Despite Northampton’s 3-0 halftime lead, Blue Devils coach Vanessa Butynski wasn’t thrilled with the process to build it.

“It was good to get the ‘W’ today, but I really felt like we didn’t play as a unit. We played individually,” she said. “Putting it in the back of the net was excellent, but I do think that to move forward we need to play better as a unit, understand what we’re playing against and how to find open areas.”

The Blue Devils’ lack of cohesion cracked open the door for Monument Mountain late to try and introduce some chaos.

Northampton freshman forward Briana Heafey had to clear a ball off the goal line with 12 minutes left to prevent a Spartans goal. Then Monument Mountain’s Marcella Tenuta scalded a free kick from outside the box toward the top left corner of the net. Blue Devils keeper Caroline Riordan tipped it over the bar with her outstretched right hand, and it bounced off the football goal post for a corner.

The Spartans thought it hit the cross bar and collapsed on Riordan trying to cover the ball, putting it in the net. The referees signaled for a corner, but Riordan, who made two saves, needed to leave the game with an injury.

Butynski sent Denhart back in net to protect the goal for the final 10 minutes.

“I used to play in goal when I was little,” Denhart said. “I was definitely nervous, especially because they were getting so many chances in the last few minutes.”

Northampton kept a tighter grip on possession over the game’s final stretches. Denhart only needed to grab one errant pass. The Blue Devils kept the ball in Monument Mountain’s half the rest of the time.

They found Kendall Reynolds with a through ball with less than two minutes remaining. Mead charged out to meet her, and Reynolds dribbled around the Monument Mountain keeper in space. The Northampton senior forward fired a shot toward goal, but a Spartan raced back to halt it at the line with her arm in an awkward position.

Referees awarded Northampton a penalty kick, but the Blue Devils coaching staff wanted a red card, too, for the denial of a clear goal scoring opportunity. Northampton had to settle for the spot kick, and Reynolds grabbed the ball to take it. She sent her attempt low and to the right, but Mead dove to save it.

When the final whistle sounded, Butynski greeted it with relief.

“Throughout that second half I thought ‘we just need to get through this game, get the W, move on,” she said. “We need to focus on areas as a unit to actually put teams away, not just think that we put teams away.”

Northampton (4-4-4, 4-3-4 Central) won for the first time since Oct. 1 after drawing its last two games. The Blue Devils are .500 and in position to qualify for the postseason if they win two of their next four games.  

“I think we just try to forget about it. It wasn’t a great game, so move from it, try to start off being collectively more as a team and working better together,” Denhart said. “That’s the best we can do from now on.”

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

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