NORTH ADAMS -- The reigning CIAO Classic champions looked nothing like the team that claimed last year's crown. After a 2-1 loss to SUNY-IT on Saturday, the MCLA men's soccer team finished last in the four-team tournament after a 1-0 loss to tournament champion Salve Regina.
The Seahawks controlled most of the play as the Trailblazers stuck with their defense-first mentality. Salve enjoyed the better-quality chances throughout the first half and converted the best one in the 40th minute.
The tournament's Defensive MVP, Bobby Ernst, stole the ball from an MCLA defender along the touch line, took a touch before finding Alex Wasilewski in the middle of the box. Wasilewski wasted little time before making a nice passing shot to the right side for the 1-0 lead.
MCLA had chances in the second half, but weren't able to find the equalizer, despite a late push.
The loss evens MCLA's record at 2-2.
MCLA had trouble moving the ball from its back line to the forwards with numbers. The Trailblazers were fine advancing the ball to the midfielders, but too often a ball sent forward didn't connect with the forward or left him without support.
That meant Salve was right back on the offensive and putting pressure on former Hoosac Valley standout Brandon Asher and the rest of the defense. Asher is a recipient of the annual CIAO scholarship and is the third MCLA men's soccer player to have received the scholarship. The other
Playing in the tournament sponsored by those who awarded him with the scholarship adds a little something for Asher.
"You want to go out, show everybody what you've got, what it's all about and what CIAO's about," Asher said. "Today, we didn't get the result we wanted."