NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Fourteen hours after earning its best result of the fall, the McCann Tech boys soccer team went one better.
Jake Touponce scored one goal and assisted on another, and Jesse Brazee made 16 saves Saturday as the Hornets beat Mount Everett, 2-1.
The morning win came on a short turnaround after a road trip to Westfield, where McCann Tech (8-4-2) earned a 3-3 tie against Westfield Tech (9-1-2), the top team in Class D in Western Massachusetts.
“We came out of yesterday with a tone of momentum,” Touponce said. “In the beginning of the season, we got beaten 4-0 by [Westfield Tech], and then we went down to their place and got a tie. That was huge for us.
“It definitely factored into this game, because we had tied with Mount Everett earlier.”
Earlier in the week, actually, on Tuesday in Sheffield, a 3-3 result that started a 2-0-2 week for the Hornets.
McCann Tech got the scoring started on Saturday in the seventh minute of play, when Touponce sent a throw-in from deep on the left wing into the box, where Ivan Liang headed it home for his 17th goal of the season to give the Hornets a 1-0 advantage.
Less than three minutes later, Sean Rousseau crossed the ball to Touponce at the top of the 18, and Touponce finished to make it a 2-0 margin.
Mount Everett (0-9-2) rallied to put pressure on the Hornets starting from about the 14-minute mark, including a perfectly placed shot from Jason Peck high on the left wing that reuquired a leaping save by Brazee to punch out for a corner kick.
The teams battled back-and-forth throughout the latter stages of the half, setting the tone for the rest of the game, and the period ended with Nathaniel Von Ruden converting an assist from Tyler Candelari past a diving Brazee to make it 2-1 going into the break.
McCann Tech’s best chance to extend the lead came midway through the second half, when Liang lofted a through ball from midfield just over the defense for a hard-charging Jack Cooper.
Mount Everett’s Michael Devoti (11 saves) came off his line to make a sliding play on the ball at the top of the 18 and deny Cooper to keep it a one-goal margin.
At the other end, the Eagles dialed up the pressure on Brazee, putting 10 shots on goal in the final 40 minutes of play.
“We had a lot of possession and created some chances in the second half,” Mount Everett coach Joe McSpirit said. “Unfortunately, their goalie made some good saves, and we weren’t able to put it away in the end.
“I’m happy with the pressure in the second half. We just have to polish up that final product and put the ball in the back of the net.”
Although the Eagles are still searching for their first win, Saturday’s contest showed that they are much better than their record indicates. And with two ties in their last five outings, a positive result feels attainable in Mount Everett’s last five contests.
McCann Tech, meanwhile, has four games left starting Wednesday at home against Gateway after coing through the toughest back-to-back of its season with three points.
“I was actually very worried about tied legs,” McCann Tech coach Stephen McAllister said. “But like I said at the beginning of the season, I work these guys. Endurance-wise, I push them really hard during practice.
“The momentum from playing against Westfield is huge for us. … We went down there, we lost to them early in the season 4-0. They scored early [Friday], we scored and we ended up with a 3-3 draw at the end of the day. I know we could have beaten them the way our boys were playing. We took that momentum into today, and that’s what I talked about over and over with the boys.
“Definitely worried about tired legs, but these boys are in it to win it.”
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