Boys soccer: Warriors make history, pick up first-ever postseason win

  • Mohawk Trail’s Oscar Cassin (19) dribbles past McCann Tech’s Nate Biagini during the second half of the visiting Warriors’ 4-3 penalty-kick victory during the WMass Div. 4 first round on Monday in North Adams. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

  • Mohawk Trail’s Rosco Palmer (23) battles for possession with McCann Tech’s Connor Griswold (12) along the sideline in the visiting Warriors’ 4-3 penalty-kick victory during the WMass Div. 4 first round on Monday in North Adams. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

  • Mohawk Trail’s Porter Carr (18) eyes the ball with McCann Tech’s Omar Ugdah preparing a long ball during the second half of the visiting Warriors’ 4-3 penalty-kick victory during the WMass Div. 4 first round on Monday in North Adams. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

  • Mohawk Trail’s Oscar Cassin (19) tries to track down a bouncing ball in front of McCann Tech’s Nate Biagini during the second half of the visiting Warriors’ 4-3 penalty-kick victory during the WMass Div. 4 first round on Monday in North Adams. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

  • Mohawk Trail’s Gavin Steele-McCutchen (30) and teammates goalkeeper Reuben Bassett (1), Jeff Buck (27) and Tyler Dubreuil (hidden) celebrate a goal in the second half of the visiting Warriors’ 4-3 penalty-kick victory during the WMass Div. 4 first round on Monday in North Adams. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Staff Writer
Published: 11/4/2019 8:21:56 PM
Modified: 11/4/2019 10:24:20 PM

NORTH ADAMS — Mohawk Trail’s Cinderella story marches forward.

Going into the season, expectations weren’t exactly high for a Warriors boys soccer squad that didn’t field a program in 2018.

Instead, Mohawk Trail earned the No. 9 seed in the Western Mass. Div. 4 Tournament, and on Monday defeated No. 8 McCann Tech, 4-3, in the first round as the Warriors outscored the Hornets by a 4-2 margin in penalty kicks to earn the program’s first-ever postseason victory.

The Warriors were 0-9 in tournament appearances before Monday, their first coming back in 1984. In those nine losses, they were outscored by a 32-5 margin, including seven shutouts. 

“I told the guys at our last practice that we were going to PKs,” Mohawk Trail coach Nick Brown said. “That’s what we did at practice and it paid off. I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys, I couldn’t ask for a better season. If you had told me in August when the season started that we were going to go into the second round of the postseason, I wouldn’t have believed it. But here we are.”

Neither team held an advantage after 80 minutes of action, and the squads headed to overtime with the game tied at 3-3. That score remained the same after the first 10-minute overtime period, forcing a second OT, where neither offense had any better luck. Still tied 3-3, the fate of both teams’ seasons rested on penalty kicks. 

Jaime Colemenjaro, Keeman Ramirez and Tyler Dubreuil made three of the first four penalty kicks for Mohawk Trail, with Hornets keeper Andrew Levesque coming up with one save.

Warriors goalie Reuben Bassett saved the first McCann penalty kick, followed by successful attempts from Nick LaForest and Omar Ugdah. A wild fourth attempt from the Hornets was way off the mark, putting Mohawk Trail up 3-2 with one round to go.

Bassett came out of net to take the kick that would seal the Warriors’ victory. The keeper blasted a shot to the left side, and while Levesque guessed the correct way, the ball was hit so hard it went just past his outstretched hands, landing in the left corner to move the Warriors through to the quarterfinals. They’ll take on top-seeded Mount Everett on Thursday at 2 p.m. in Sheffield.

“It’s really hard,” Bassett said of the PK situation. “It’s a 50/50. You go one way or the other. I guessed right. When you get that first stop, the whole team gains confidence. That’s what happened and how we pulled it out. We had confidence and kept rolling.”

It looked like the game was heading into halftime scoreless, but Warrior forward Tyler Dubreuil had different ideas.

The sophomore stole the ball, raced down the field and fired on goal. Levesque got a hand on it, but the ball still fluttered into the goal to give the visitors a 1-0 advantage at intermission.

“That gave us confidence,” Bassett said of the first goal. “We knew going into the second half we could score on these guys.”

Mohawk Trail (8-7-4) had confidence going into the second half, but the Hornets quickly squashed that momentum when Connor Griswold dished to a streaking Ivan Liang, who found the back of the net to even the score just 30 seconds after the break. Nine minutes later, Ugdah blasted in a shot from way outside the box to give McCann its first lead, 2-1. 

It didn’t take the Warriors long to even the score, with Dubreuil once again getting behind the defense, this time off a pass from Maxwell Summers. The sophomore chipped it over an extended Levesque for his second goal in the 54th minute.

Mohawk Trail struck again in the 59th minute, as Dubreuil flipped the ball over the Hornet defense, putting a pass right to Colemenjaro, who finished to regain a 3-2 lead for the Warriors. 

Dubreuil was all over the place for Mohawk Trail, constantly getting behind the McCann defense and putting pressure on Levesque & Co.

“He wanted it today,” Brown said of Dubreuil. “I’m looking forward to what else he can bring.”

A critical mistake by the Warriors allowed the Hornets to even the score. Unable to clear the ball in the 76th minute, Ugdah stole it away in the box and belted a shot into the goal that ultimately forced overtime. 

Both teams seemed to be collecting themselves in the first overtime period, not wanting to make a mistake to give away a goal.

“My guys were gassed,” Brown said. “They put everything they had into the first 80 minutes, then the next 10 for overtime. Going into the second overtime, we were fighting.”

Mohawk Trail came out firing in the second OT period, as Dubreuil got behind the defense and was tripped while taking a shot in the box. The ball ricocheted off the post, and the referees ruled he got the shot off before getting fouled, thus no penalty kick.

McCann (11-7-1) had three corner kicks and multiple opportunities in the final three minutes, but were unable to find the back of the net.

“We fought back and tied it late,” said McCann Tech coach John Bresett. “Some bounces go your way, some don’t.”

Mohawk Trail 4, McCann Tech 3

Mohawk

1

2

4

McCann Tech

0

3

3

Goals: (M) Dubreuil (2), Colemenjaro. (MT) Liang, Ugdah (2).

Assists: (M) Summers, Dubreuil. (MT) Griswold.

Saves: (M) Bassett 10. (MT) Levesque 12.

Penalty Makes: (M) Colemenjaro, Ramirez, Dubreuil, Bassett. (MT) LaForest, Ugdah.


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