HOLYOKE, Mass. ---- The Massasoit women's soccer season ended in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday, falling to Springfield Tech in penalty kicks in the semifinals of the Region 21 Tournament on the campus of Holyoke Community College.
Springfield Tech advanced to the Region 21 Championship and faced top-seed Holyoke CC, falling on Sunday, 4-0.
"It was our best game of the year," head coach Jim Stapleton said. "A fantastic effort by all of girls, playing down a player for big part of the game. Our girls showed a lot of fight and character and did not quit. It was a tough way to end the year, but the effort was outstanding."
On a rainy afternoon, neither team was able to cross the goal line in the opening half. Finally, in the 68th minute, the Warriors would strike, when Shelby Sprague (Stoughton) rocketed a cross into the box, where Noelle Moliere (Brockton) was there to knock in the first goal of the day.
The Warriors would play bend but not break defense, packing it in with seven defenders during the last 20 minutes of action, as Massasoit keeper Kelly Cronin (Weymouth) played well in goal, making a total of seven saves.
It appeared as though the Warriors would escape with the 1-0 victory, but Springfield Tech fired in a corner kick cross into the box with just 15 seconds left in the game. The cross was unable to be cleared allowing the Rams to poke it in to even up the contest and send the game to overtime.
Neither team was able to score during the two extra periods as the semifinal match went to penalty kicks.
Head coach Jim Stapleton opted to change keepers for PK's, moving Moliere in net for the Warriors. Moliere had experience in the penalty kick scenario from her days at Cardinal Spellman High School.
The move looked to pay off as the freshman stopped the first two attempts by STCC. Moliere was even able to get a hand on two of the next three shots by the Rams, but they all found the back of the net. Sprague and Mariella McEachern (Marshfield) each made their PK's, but two of the next three Massasoit's shots hit a post. The Rams won in PK's 3-2.