Cinderella Mount Everett boys soccer team falls in Western Mass. Class D championship | Local Sports

SPRINGFIELD – Smith Academy’s Logan Graves had the chance of his life in the second half of the boys’ Class D football championship game in western Massachusetts on Sunday, and he made sure he took it.

The No. 3 Falcons were tied 1-1 with eighth-seeded Mount Everett when Riley Intrator was fouled by the Smith Academy just outside the box 23 minutes and 45 seconds before the start of the game.

The ball was placed in the center and Graves went to perform the kick. The opening game required a pass, but Graves saw an opening, deflected a shot past the wall and into the net to give the Falcons a 2-1 lead.

The Eagles couldn’t find the equalizer late as Smith Academy won the Class D championship thanks to a 2-1 final in a game at Pope Francis High School.

“We called out a game that we wanted to play with that positioning,” said Graves. “I didn’t think the distance was there. I saw a small opening and turned it past the wall. I did something similar against Hopkins [in the semifinals] so i knew what to do. It felt great. I knew it was working the second I shot it. They have a great goalkeeper who played great so I wasn’t one hundred percent sure it would go in, but I knew it had a chance. “

After the Falcons took the lead in the second half, Mount Everett (2-15-2) came with the biggest boost of the game. The Eagles earned several late corners but failed to capitalize.

The best chance of a tie was 10 minutes before the end of the game, but Michael Ullrich’s shot went just over the crossbar. Ullrich had another drive from the outside edge of the box in the final minutes, but Smith Academy goalie Ryan Belina was there to make his sixth save of the competition.

“We struggled to be offensive and break through their line of defense,” said Eagles coach Joe McSpiritt. “Your goalkeeper made a couple of saves. We couldn’t put the ball in the net. “

Smith Academy (12-5-2) worked all season to win a Western Mass. Title. Coach Jason Duncan said he was proud of the way his team struggled throughout the season to achieve that goal.

“I told these guys before the season started that our goal was to be better at the end than at the beginning,” said Duncan. “We are. If you do all the hard work, you might as well get it paid off. We worked hard all season and it paid off.”

After holding up Hopkins Academy in the second half of the semifinals last week, the Falcons were prepared for the Eagles’ advance on Sunday.

Intrator had the chance to make it 3-1 with 3:50 on the clock, but Mount Everett keeper Michael Devoti made his sixth save of the game to keep his squad alive.

“We were a pass-away in the second half,” said Duncan. “They had a riot late there where they put something under pressure on us. We lasted longer against Hopkins this Thursday. We’ve been there before and knew how to take the blows and keep playing. “

In the first few minutes, both teams used their chances to score.

Just four minutes after kick-off, Intrator sent a pass across the box to Ben Hudzik, and the runner-up found the back of the net to give Smith Academy an early 1-0 lead.

Intrator had a 2-0 chance a minute later after falling behind the Eagle defense on a breakaway, but Devoti had a big save. Mount Everett quickly pulled the ball into the field, where Ullrich steered a pass into the penalty area to Diego Cruz, who ended the game to 1-1 with 33:41 in the first half.

The goal showed that the Eagles would not give up after the early Falcons goal. Mount Everett entered the Western Mass. Tournament as the No. 8 seed without a win and lasted into the closing seconds of the finals.

“We played hard,” said McSpiritt. “We gave up the early goal, but fought back. I thought we played hard the whole game, we just couldn’t finish it. “

Duncan was pleased with his team’s reaction after Mount Everett equalized the game.

“It was good to start scoring,” said Duncan. “I would have preferred not to have given up a quick goal after that. But we survived it. We didn’t break and it didn’t kill us. In the whole year we haven’t lost a game in which we scored two goals and we managed to score two goals. “

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