The North Adams and West Union boy’s and girl’s soccer teams got together on senior night for the Dragons Wednesday night with the North Adams girls picking up another win while the boys played to a scoreless, but drama-filled draw.
The North Adams Lady Devils, now winners of 10-straight matches, had to work to crack a resiliant West Union defense in the early going. Despite pressure on top of more pressure from the more-athletic North Adams side, it took until nearly midway through the first half, and the ninth corner kick on the evening, before the ball fell to senior Cati Butler about two yards out who slammed the chance home to give North Adams the 1-0 lead – opening the floodgates.
About five minutes after the opening goal, sophomore Lakyn Hupp chased down a long pass, beating two West Union defenders and slotted home a shot near post to double the North Adams advantage.
Butler struck again from a far way out about 10 minutes later to make it 3-0, and one more before halftime gave the Lady Devils a comfortable halftime advantage.
After two more goals in the second half to make it 6-0, West Union had their best chance of the evening with about 29:00 remaining when a shot was rocketed off the crossbar, but the chance was cleared by the North Adams defense, preserving the shutout.
Butler got her hat-trick a few minutes later after finding a few yards beyond the box after taking a pass from fellow senior Brandi Waits for the final goal of the evening as the Lady Devils walked away with a 7-0 victory.
North Adams Head Coach Dave D’Avignon said his team hadn’t had a competitive game in awhile and was worried about sloppy play, but he said his team responded well.
“The girls haven’t played game in nine days and I was a concerned they would be a little rusty, but they picked up right where they left off,” D’Avignon said. “The whole team clocked a lot of minutes tonight and did a nice job moving the ball around.”
There was infinitely less scoring in the boy’s matchup, but plenty more drama as each team had multiple chances to score, but all those chances went begging.
After about 10 minutes of initial pressure by North Adams to start the game off, West Union had the best early chance when senior Jacob Miley broke free towards goal and struck the ball right at the North Adams goalkeeper, senior Drew Coppack.
At around the 20:00 minute mark in the first half, North Adams senior Cole Roades made everyone gasp off a corner kick when he struck the ball into the ground goalwards beautifully, beating junior goalkeeper Andre Wolke. However the chance struck off the frame of the goal and the Dragons were able to clear.
Both teams continued to trade chances but undoubtly none were greater than the chance North Adams had right before the game ended when a slide tackle by West Union was ruled a foul inside the box and gave North Adams a penalty as time was expiring. Senior Aaron Pertuset took the penalty, but skied the chance well over the crossbar, ending the game at 0-0.
West Union Head Coach Kevin Hunter said since both teams know each other so well, the game would likely come down to a single goal.
“I knew it was going to be a tight game going into it,” Hunter said. “I would’ve been happier with a win but I’m totally OK going from them beating us 5-0 last season and 4-0 at the beginning of this season so we’ve drastically improved.”
For North Adams’s Ike Wooten, he said West Union always provides a special challenge for his team every time they take the field together.
“West Union picks a few games on their schedule they really want to go for and it’s up against us twice a year and we knew that going in,” Wooten said. “We controlled possession and I think passed the ball better but when it came to crunch time, 18 to 18 on both sides, they were able to clear and we just weren’t able to finish the ball.”
Regarding the penalty, Hunter said he really didn’t want to see the game decided on a single play at the end.
“I wouldn’t want to be in [the referee’s] situation especially out here in the dark like this,” Hunter said. “I’ve seen coaches teach players to flop and I would hope that a player wouldn’t do that but I really would’ve been tore up if that had ended the game with the clock running out on a player falling in the box.”
For Wooten, he believed that call could’ve been made multiple times during the game, but when it mattered most, his team let another chance go to waste, which may cost North Adams seeding for the postseason tournament.
“I think [the ref] probably could’ve made that same call a few other times throughout the game and chose not to. And for whatever reason he chose to call it with nine seconds left,” Wooten said. “Which it was, it was a penalty. But again we failed to execute. Aaron Pertuset is a solid player – I’ve never seen him miss a kick like that, and somehow when it matters most with nine seconds left, somehow he finds a way to kick it over.”
Reach Charles Grove at 937-544-2391 or email@example.com.