Bay State Games: West snags gold in boys soccer, girls soccer takes bronze
|Published: 07-09-2023 11:29 PM
FITCHBURG — Allison Fleury knew exactly where Lauren Marjanski would send the ball when their eyes met. Marjanski, her South Hadley teammate, simultaneously knew where Fleury would be.
“We know how each other plays, and we make runs and moves off of each other,” Fleury said.
The Tigers locked eyes in the 77th minute of Sunday’s Bay State Games girls soccer bronze medal match. Marjanski served the ball to Fleury as she made her run in the Central box.
Fleury sent the ball past the keeper and secured a 3-2 West win between the two teams composed of nearly all western Massachusetts players.
“They came in pumped and ready to go, and that came onto us, and we wanted to win,” Marjanski said.
The West captured the medal despite playing with 12 total players, and its substitute was a goalie. They surged initially trying to nab an early goal, but Central withstood the early charge and pushed back.
“At first we were kind of disappointed that everyone decided not to show up, but we all came together and we all came out, so we wanted to go home with the bronze,” Marjanski said.
Granby’s Kalli White fed a perfect through ball to Minnechaug’s Diana Facchetti in a crowd of West defenders. Facchetti wormed her way out of it and sent the game’s first goal into the net 32 minutes in.
The West responded off a corner 16 minutes later. Marjanski lofted the ball in, and Minnechaug’s Gianna Sakowski pounced on it after the scramble to knot the game at 1.
“We motivated each other, and we kept persevering together. We kept trying to bring each other up because it was really hot, and we didn’t have any subs,” Fleury said. “We just tried to work together.”
The tie only lasted two minutes. West Springfield’s Sydney Reed restored Central’s lead 2-1 off a breakaway minutes later.
That didn’t bury the West either, though. Katie Gilhooly of Chicopee Comp drew a penalty in the 56th minute after she was brought down from behind in the box. Marjanski converted the penalty calmly to the bottom right corner to level the game again.
“As one person kept up the intensity, it spread and everyone needed to work together,” Marjanski said.
South Hadley’s Fleury, Marjanski and Gwen Marion suited up for the West in the bronze medal match. Their Tiger teammates Kiana Ramos and Rachel Yabra played for Central along with Hampshire’s Jenessy Espada and Rylee Joseph, Granby’s White and Brenna Moreno and Belchertown’s Avery Cooper.
Three early goals were enough to secure a second consecutive Bay State Games gold medal for the West boys soccer team.
Ludlow’s Cole Bamford tallied two of them, including one in the first minute. His Lions teammate Mateo Balbino converted a penalty with a cheeky chip in between them.
But Central responded with a goal directly off a free kick from an odd angle in the 49th minute then cut the lead to 3-2 when Alexander Mendez put away a pouncing ball from a free kick in a similar position. The end of the game became chippy and physical, and players needed to be separated multiple times after tackles.
Hampshire’s Vincent Zononi, Eathampton’s Anaias Isaza-Malloy and Hatfield’s Jonny Scagel, who attends Deerfield Academy, were on the West roster.
The West finished 6-0 and outscored their opponents 31-5.
It took a nail biter, but the West boys volleyball team added another gold medal for the region with a 2-1 win over the Northeast squad.
They won the first set 25-20 before falling in the second. The West took the decisive third set 15-12.
Granby’s Michael Swanigan and Jake Gagnon participated along with South Hadley native Nolan Rodgers, who plays for Westfield.
The team finished undefeated.
The West girls volleyball team finished fifth at the Bay State games over the weekend at Game On.
They went 2-6 in pool play, defeating Metro 25-14, 26-24 on Saturday. That set up a challenge match against Coastal for a spot in the semifinal bracket Sunday. Coastal prevailed 25-17.
Frontier Regional’s Ariana Miller, Gabrielle Adams and Allie Pierce participated along with Christiana Santiago of Belchertown.