No. 10 Holyoke Bests Women’s Soccer In Region 21 Finals

#4 Shelby Sprague
#4 Shelby Sprague

HOLYOKE, Mass. ---- The third time was not the charm for the Massasoit women's soccer team on Saturday afternoon, as the Warriors fell to nationally ranked Holyoke CC in the Region 21 Championship for the third consecutive year, this time by a score of 3-0.

Massasoit concludes its season with an overall record of 10-5-1, while 10th-ranked HCC (12-3-4) advances to the Northeast District Championship to be hosted by the Region 15 Champion. It marked the fourth consecutive regional title for the Cougars and seventh in the last eight seasons.

In a fairly even opening stanza saw the game take a turn in favor of the Cougars in the 40th minute of action. Off a foul by the Warriors near side outside the box, Natalie Galindo rifled a free kick cross into the box and Allyson Everett was there to finish to give HCC the 1-0 lead.

"We didn't finish that play," head coach Jim Stapleton said. "If we could have got to the half scoreless I think it would have been a different game."

After halftime, the Warriors made some formation changes in hopes to put pressure on the Cougar defense. The changes worked as Shelby Sprague (Stoughton) made two excellent crosses but the Warriors were unable to finish in the opening minutes of the second half. Sprague also finished with a team-high three shots.

"In the second half, we pulled two kids forward (Shelby Sprague & Silvia Sosa) when it was 1-0 and we generated some offense," Stapleton said. "We should have scored and possibly taken the lead during that stretch in the second half."

HCC added a much-needed insurance goal in the 65th minute when Galindo rocketed a shot from outside the 18-yard box past the Massasoit keeper.

The Cougars tacked on their third goal in the 88th minute off a corner kick scrum in front of the net, as Sophia Hess finished off the day's scoring.

"HCC scored a tough second goal and we just conceived too many corners on the afternoon and gave them too many opportunities on offense," Stapleton said.

The Cougars attempted 10 corner kicks for the match, while the Warriors did not take one. HCC also held the edge in shots, 10-7.

"They made the plays when they had to and we didn't," Stapleton said. "It was a good season for us. I think the better team, certainly today, won. I think they were the better team, not overwhelmingly so, but there is only one winner."

In two previous meetings during the 2015 regular season, the result ended in a 2-2 tie and a 1-0 victory for HCC in Holyoke.

In addition, HCC has now shutout the Warriors in three consecutive Region 21 Finals: 2-0 in 2013, 2-0 in 2014 and 3-0 in 2015.

Keeper Laura Ellis (Raynham/Bristol-Plymouth Voc.) made seven saves in the loss.