GIRLS SOCCER: Mahar falls to three-time defending champion South Hadley in Div. 3 final

  • Mahar junior forward Delaney Parker poses with the Western Massachusetts Div. 3 finalist trophy following the Senators' 7-2 loss to South Hadley at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.

  • The Mahar Senators pose with the Western Massachusetts Div. 3 finalist trophy following their 7-2 loss to South Hadley at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.

  • Mahar eighth-grader Carra Fitzgerald, right, and Reese Carey of South Hadley chase a loose ball in the second half of the Senators' 7-2 loss to the Tigers in the Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.

  • Mahar freshman Kendrah Doane, right, challenges Reese Carey, left, of South Hadley in the second half of the Senators' 7-2 loss to the Tigers in the Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. In foreground is the Tigers' Lindsay Marjanski.

  • South Hadley senior Reese Carey, left, turns a pass from Sydney Mercier (not shown) to score on Mahar sophomore keeper Mackinley Drew to make it 6-1 in the second half of the Senators' 7-2 loss to the Tigers in the Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.

  • Mahar freshman Kendrah Doane, center, heads the ball in front of teammate Astha Bernard. left, and Lindsay Marjanski, right, of South Hadley in the second half of the Senators' 7-2 loss to the Tigers in the Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.

  • South Hadley sophomore Elyse Manzi, left, and Mahar sophomore Natalie Belloli duel for possession in the second half of the Senators' 7-2 loss to the Tigers in the Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.

  • Mahar freshman Astha Bernard, right, is challenged by Emma Sanford of South Hadley in the first half of the Senators' 7-2 loss to the Tigers in the Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.

  • South Hadley senior goalkeeper Bridget Sears, left, anticipates a shot on goal by Astha Bernard, right, that went wide under pressure from freshman Emma Sanford (10) in the second half of the Tigers' 7-2 Western Massachusetts Div. 3 championship win over the Senators at Springfield Central High School on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019.

Staff Writer
Published: 11/17/2019 1:58:22 PM
Modified: 11/17/2019 1:58:16 PM

SPRINGFIELD — The first-ever appearance in the Western Mass. Division 3 finals for the Mahar Regional School girls soccer team ended with a 7-2 defeat at the hands of top-seeded South Hadley on Saturday afternoon at Springfield Central High School’s Berte Field.

Third-seeded Mahar (18-2-2) beat Hampshire Regional in double overtime in its first semifinal appearance earlier in the week to punch its ticket to the sectional final.

“It was special and historic,” Mahar coach Chad Softic said of his team's season. “Especially after last year the way we crumbled. This really breathed new life into the program. These girls were incredible. Competitive, classy and hard-working.”

South Hadley (20-0-1), which won its third consecutive Division 3 sectional title, jumped out quickly, scoring in the second minute of play on its way to a 5-0 halftime lead.

The Tigers advanced to play Central Mass. champion Holy Name in the state semifinals at Grafton High School on Tuesday.

Delaney Parker got the Senators on the scoreboard in the second half, assisted by Gracie Rich.

“It has been a phenomenal season,” Parker said. “I am so proud of us for making it here. We are going to stay the same, and all the other teams are going to lose seniors. We will still have the same strength and power.”

The Senators will return their entire starting lineup next season with the experience of playing in high-pressure situations. Mahar is the first area team to make the sectional final since Athol High School did it in 2013.

No Franklin County girls soccer team has ever won a Western Mass. championship.

“It's going to be tough to wake up on Monday and not have practice,” Softic said.

The Tigers kept possession for most of the game, limiting Parker's chances.

“They are very tall and physical,” Parker said of South Hadley. “They have really good connections with each other. They pass really well.”

Trailing 5-0 at halftime, the Senators had a positive huddle at halftime and scored twice for the sizable contingent of fans who made the trip from Orange.

Micalyn Mailloux netted a goal for the Senators with 9 minutes, 52 seconds left in the second half.

“I am hoping they will be hungry to come back here,” Softic said. “They just play. They play the game and show up and play hard. They play the right way and that's all you can ask for.”

Rich had a busy game at sweeper for the Senators, dealing with the Tigers’ systematic and patient attack.

“We had a little trouble marking today,” Rich said. “Especially with communication with the ball coming across. I did not expect us to come this far. Everyone saw us as underdogs. Throughout the season as we worked together, we stepped it up. We realized we had a really good chance and that we can beat anyone.”

Maddie Lloyd made 11 saves for the Senators before leaving in the second half with an injury. Mackinley Drew entered the game for Lloyd and made four saves.

Jordan Fournier, Jaylynn Eady and MaryAnne Prescott played their final season for the Mahar soccer program. Prescott missed most of the season with a back injury.

Taegan Gawron opened the scoring for the Tigers, knocking in a rebound off a shot by Paige Marjanski at 38:57 of the first half.

Maddie Doolitte gave South Hadley a 2-0 lead when she curved a corner kick into the net at 28:25.

Gawron netted another in the 17th minute. Lindsay Marjanski sent a precision pass to the far post where Gawron one-touched it in for the goal.

Doolittle scored for a second time on a deep shot, assisted by Paige Marjanski.

Lindsay Marjanski found the net when she turned and fired a shot from around the 18-yard line to give the Tigers a 5-0 lead heading into intermission.

Reese Carey scored twice in the second half for the Tigers, with Sydney Mercier and Lindsay Marjanski adding assists.


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