By Brendan Tadeo and Gunnar Sagan
SPRINGFIELD- On Wednesday November 13, 2019 the semifinal game between the No.5 Chicopee High Pacers and the No.2 Longmeadow Lancers was held at Central High School. Despite the frigid conditions, the Lancers did not hesitate to make their way onto the scoreboard with an opening score by Senior #9 Joe Cardaropolie only four minutes into the game. Starting out hot at 1-0, Longmeadow was up early but that wasn’t the end of their momentum. Senior #14 Aidan Bone tacked on another goal with an electric left-footed strike right out of the reach over Berube.
With the Pacers down 2-0, a powerful offensive push by Junior #10 Mamadi Jiana gave the Pacers a shot on net but was saved by Lancers goalie Tyler Andrews. With 33 minutes left in the first half, Head coach Tom Rivet calls a T.O. to make some much-needed adjustments.
Before anymore time could go by, Junior #1 Andrew Ortiz upped the Lancer lead to 3-0 with an assist from the corner from Senior #17 Jared Smith for the icing on the cake just before the end of the first half.
Going into the second half, the Pacers were looking for a spark and that’s exactly what they got. Four minutes into the second half of play, #10 Mamadi Jiana was tripped up by the Lancer goalie whilst making a move toward the goal. The Pacers were in a perfect position to score and breathe some life back into the team, however this scoring opportunity would come and go in vain as the shot went wide to the right.
“I think our team defense allowed our forwards to get down the field and do what they needed to do. Guys who normally don’t get the opportunity to score got into the mix, so I think that was very big for us,” said Longmeadow Coach Brad Miller
Continuing the Lancer-scoring trend of the game that night, #9 Senior Joe Cardaropolie headed in another goal making it 4-0 with an assist from #20 Senior Mike Willis. Chicopee would not give up, however, as #8 Junior Dom Rodrigo would attempt to bring his team back into the game by scoring the Pacers’ first goal of the matchup, making the score 4-1.
After missing an opportunity to capitalize on a free kick for Longmeadow, #20 Mike Willis rebounded his missed shot and fired the ball into the back of the net, establishing a commanding 5-1 lead over Chicopee.
With 10 minutes to spare, LHS’ #22 Senior Quinn McGrath scored the sixth and final goal for the Lancers, ending the game 6-1 with Longmeadow coming out on top and ending a hard-fought and well-played season for the Pacers.
“We could’ve worked harder, scored a few more goals… it’s unfortunate. The first ten minutes killed us,” Chicopee Senior Goalie Aidan Gilhooly said after the Pacers’ heartbreaking loss.
The Longmeadow Lancers will be facing the No.1 Ludlow Lions Saturday November 16, at Central High School for a rematch of last year’s Western Mass Championship.
UPDATE: The Longmeadow Lancers would go on to defeat the Ludlow Lions 2-1 to win the Western Mass Division I Title.