CHESHIRE -- Referee Brian Farley said it best: "Seventeen, nice game." His compliment to Hoosac Valley’s Meg Rodowicz as she left the field with less than 10 minutes to play was spot on.
The center midfielder scored three times and added a trio of assists as the Hurricanes blew past visiting Lee, 7-1.
Hoosac coach Blair Mahar thought it was her best performance to date.
"She gets better every single game. She gets more confident every single game," he said of the junior who’s been starting since her freshman year. "She doesn’t say a lot on the field. She’s not a big vocal girl, but man, she leads by example with her play, and then we all want to play like her. And the whole team responds."
The win was an important one for Hoosac as it is still playing for the South Division title. The Hurricanes were 3-1 in the South, good for six points and second place, entering Monday’s game. Lee was 2-0-1, just one point behind but with a game in hand. The win pushes Hoosac above Mount Greylock (seven points) for first, with an extra game played, and three points ahead of Lee.
"That’s huge," Rodowicz said of keeping pace with Greylock in the standings. "They’re our biggest competitors right now, and this game meant a lot. We just couldn’t lose it."
Rodowicz opened the scoring after Hoosac settled down when she ran through a Madi Ryan cross from the left flank, kneeing the ball to the back of the net.
Then she went to play-making. She sent Lily Kronick in alone of the keeper, and Kronick put a subtle flick on the ball with her foot, floating it over Sara Middleton for her first varsity goal. She finished the first half with a though ball right up the middle for Danielle Beauchemin to run onto. Beauchemin, despite missing several opportunities in the first few minutes, calmly put a finishing touch to the ball and placed it just inside the right post.
"I think we just try to play possession soccer, like we usually do," Rodowicz said of how Hoosac was able to control much of the game. "Things just started clicking and people started making runs. We just all worked together."
She balanced out her contributions in the second half, scoring twice and helping on one.
She quickly put the Hurricanes up 4-0 with a nice goal from in the 6-yard box. Beauchemin played a long, diagonal ball through the box to the far (right) post. By the time Rodowicz tracked it down, the angle was almost zero. She found the slight opening and chipped it in with 2:35 off the clock in the second half, drawing the awe of her coach. "How did you find that angle?" he asked from the sideline.
"Meg is the fittest player on our team," Mahar said. "So when you have that kind of fitness, you can play for 80 minutes. ... She’s not even breathing out there, so her mind’s in it, she’s not sucking wind and she also knows the game."
An assist on Kronick’s second goal and completing the scoring with 12 minutes to play rounded out her tremendous offensive showing.
Hoosac can stay on track for a shot at the South title with a win Thursday against Drury under the lights at Renfrew in Adams.
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