Youth gives South Hadley a boost in 5-0 win over Amherst Regional

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  • Amherst sophomore Addison Lepak, right, sends a pass over defense by South Hadley sophomore Emma Sanford in the second quarter of the Hurricanes’ 5-0 loss to the visiting Tigers on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • South Hadley senior Jaidan Luis, right, passes Amherst freshman Ava Lau to take a shot on goal in the second quarter of the Tigers’ 5-0 win over the host Hurricanes on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. ‘Canes’ goalkeeper, eighth-grader Ava Carvel, stepped out to gather the ball well short of the goal. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • South Hadley senior Anna Evans, left, tries to turn the ball back toward Amherst’s goal, defended by senior Hannah Keochakian, right, in the first quarter of the Tigers’ 5-0 win over the host Hurricanes on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • South Hadley freshman Lauren Marjanski, right, sends a pass around Amherst Regional sophomore Eleanor Jacoby (18) and eighth grader Maeve Shrump (obscured) in the first quarter of the Tigers’ 5-0 win over the host Hurricanes on Thursday. Visit gazettenet.com for more photos. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • South Hadley sophomore Kacie Levrault, left, gets around Amherst freshman Zola Higham in the second quarter of the Tigers’ 5-0 win over the host Hurricanes on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • South Hadley sophomore goalkeeper Rylee Suchinez watches a high kick by Amherst sophomore Addison Lepak sail over the bar in the first quarter of the 5-0 Tigers’ win over the host Hurricanes on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • South Hadley sophomore goalkeeper Rylee Suchinez watches a high kick by Amherst sophomore Addison Lepak sail over the bar in the first quarter of the 5-0 Tigers’ win over the host Hurricanes on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 11/5/2020 8:03:48 PM

AMHERST — South Hadley’s future set up its present and put the Tigers girls soccer team on its way Thursday at Amherst Regional. Freshman Lauren Marjanski found senior captain Jaidan Luis in the Hurricanes’ penalty box, and Luis left no chance for Amherst’s keeper to open the scoring at 4 minutes, 43 seconds.

“It was a nice passing movement, a good finish,” South Hadley senior Teagan Gawron said. “It started the game and got us started rolling.”

The Tigers put away two more goals in the first quarter and left with a 5-0 win. Gawron and Marjanski finished with two assists, while Allie Laporte had one.

“The surface isn’t the best surface, but I thought they moved the ball great,” South Hadley coach Rich Marjanski said. “They were confident in their traps and their abilities. We’re really good on turf, but moving it on this stuff is even better.”

Amherst’s field featured mud and lumps that both teams had to navigate. South Hadley’s offense still hummed. Four Tigers found the net. Elyse Manzi benefited from a Gawron assist with 8:14 left in the first quarter, and Luis scored her second with 3:10 remaining in the opening frame.

“Whenever we get the third goal it’s important,” Luis said. “We’re able to settle down, work on passing more, giving more people opportunities.”

Then Amherst (1-4) grew into the game. Growing pains have been common for the young Hurricanes this season. Amherst regularly starts four eighth graders. Facing the defending Division 3 state champions proved another valuable lesson.

“It’s a great learning experience,” Amherst coach Matt Travis said. “We want to try and improve every game, that’s the goal. We wanted to focus on the things we could control, and that’s with our effort and our attitude, and I think it showed.”

Amherst was without its starting goalkeeper Lilly Gleason after she broke a finger earlier in the week. The Hurricanes rotated Madeline Hockman, Zola Higham and Ava Carvel between the pipes, and they combined to stop 14 South Hadley shots. Each save elicited rousing cheers from the Hurricanes bench.

“The team really rallied behind that,” Travis said. “It’s a really good group. We wish we were at full strength, but we’re playing hard.”

The Hurricanes kept South Hadley off the score sheet in the second quarter, but the Tigers added to their lead in the third.

Paige Marjanski powered a hard, low shot through an Amherst save attempt with 3:58 to go in the third after Laporte found her near the penalty spot. Anna Evans added another tally less than two minutes later. She received a long ball from Lauren Marjanski, dribbled around the Hurricanes keeper in the box and calmly slotted the ball in the net.

“Even if we’re up we treat every game like it’s our last,” Luis said. “We need to play with the best of intentions.”

South Hadley rotated through its entire roster multiple times in the game, giving younger players game experience and allowing athletes to occupy new roles. Goalkeepers Rylee Suchinez and Drew Alley also split time with each making two saves. That playing time will prove valuable in the future, as the Tigers feature nine seniors.

“That’s what we want to do all year. We want them to play different positions,” Rich Marjanski said. “When a spot opens up for a younger kid, hopefully they take advantage of it.”

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



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