WMass Girls Soccer: Defending champs South Hadley (Division 3), Granby (Division 4) earn No. 1 seeds

  • Ella Laliberte, right, of Granby, goes to the ball against Hailey Werenski, of South Hadley, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019 at South Hadley High School. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 11/1/2019 8:56:14 PM
Modified: 11/1/2019 8:55:59 PM

A second straight undefeated regular season helped earn South Hadley the No. 1 seed in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Girls Soccer Tournament for the third straight season.

“It’s great,” South Hadley coach Rich Marjanski said of the first round bye. “I’ll be able to take a look at both teams that we will play and put together a plan. The extra days off will help the girls. It was a long season. Some kids are banged up, so they could use the rest.”

The Tigers (17-0-1) will host the winner of No. 8 Hoosac Valley (7-4-7) and No. 9 Palmer (11-4-3) in the quarterfinals on a day and time to be determined. Per the MIAA, all quarterfinal games must be played between Nov. 7-9.

South Hadley’s only game that didn’t end in a victory during the regular season was a 2-2 draw with Granby on Oct. 25.

The Tigers have won the Western Mass. title two years in a row. South Hadley fell in the 2018 state championship, 2-0, to Norwell.

“It was a great regular season. Now every team is 0-0,” Marjanski said. “It’s pretty much all-in now. One and done. You’ve got to go 4-0 to win it all. ... That’s pretty much what we’re focusing on.”

Hampshire Regional (11-3-2) earned the No. 2 seed and will host No. 15 Putnam (7-5-6) in the first round. The Raiders won their last four regular season games.

No. 11 Frontier Regional (11-5-2) will visit No. 6 Mount Greylock (12-4-2) on Tuesday. No. 12 Easthampton (8-7-3) will play at No. 5 Monson (12-4-2) on Monday.

Division 4

Powered by winning with a tough schedule, four-time defending champion Granby (12-4-2) earned the No. 1 seed and a bye to the quarterfinals. The two-time Division 4 champion Rams will host either No. 8 St Mary’s (13-3-2) or No. 9 Duggan (10-3-5).

The Rams’ strength of schedule was rated at 3.83. Gateway Regional, the second seed, was rated at 2.81.

“For such a small school like we are, to compete in the Central Division like we did, it says a lot about the kids themselves,” Granby coach Bob Weaver said. “They know going into each game they are going to get the opposing school’s best game. They are a great competitive group. They’ve been taking it one game at a time.”

The Rams advanced to the state championship last season, but fell to Millis, 2-0.

“They’re really focused,” Weaver said about this year’s team. “They want to get back there. They feel they left some stuff on the field last year.”

The program is looking forward to the tight competition that Division 4 presents in the postseason.

“I think it’s a very strong field,” Weaver said. “There are a lot of good teams. You can’t take anyone for granted. ... Anyone can knock you off.”

Gateway also earned a bye. The Gators (12-4-2) will play the winner of No. 7 McCann Tech (12-2-4) and No. 10 Pathfinder (8-7-3) in the quarterfinals. No. 6 Smith Academy (9-7-2) will host No. 11 Hampden Charter (7-6-5) at 2:30 p.m. on Monday.

Division 1

Belchertown (9-8-1) earned the No. 5 seed and will visit No. 4 Agawam (10-6-2) at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday in the quarterfinals.

Belchertown beat Agawam, 1-0, on Sept. 24. Another win would pit the Orioles against No. 1 Minnechaug (16-1-0).

Belchertown lost to Minnechaug, 5-0, on Oct. 30 to close out their regular season.

“Losing to Minnechaug the other day wasn’t the end of the world,” Belchertown coach Kyle Thibeault said. “It gave me a chance to look at different options if we see them again.”




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