Monday night’s matchup between the Mt. Greylock Girls’ Soccer team and the Athol Red Raiders had enough drama to keep everyone on the edge of their seats. All eyes were glued to each pass and breaths were held at each shot. Saying these two teams have a history is an understatement. Last year, the schools met in a playoff match that Greylock hosted in which Athol came out on top in penalty kicks. Under the same circumstances as the year before, the Mounties came into Monday’s game prepared for another intense matchup and ready to settle the score with Athol.
Right from the start, the Mounties came out flying and put numerous shots on goal. Persistence paid off when senior captain Kelsey Orpin delivered a clever pass through the Athol defense, allowing her fellow senior captain Lucy Barrett to put the ball in the back of the net. Athol struck back late in the first half. With players from both sides scrambling around the Greylock net, Athol managed to slip a ball in, tying up the score 1-1, which held until the end of the half.
In the second half, a penalty kick was awarded to the Mounties and Athol called a quick timeout to prepare for the shot. Junior Melissa Swann lined up behind the ball and torpedoed a beautiful strike past the keeper, giving the Mounties a 2-1 lead. Once again, Athol mustered up an attack and tied up the game with just over ten minutes left in regulation. The score remained tied after the full eighty minutes, sending the game into overtime.
By MIAA rules, playoff overtime is what is known in the soccer world as golden goal, and more commonly, sudden death. The fate of each team would be determined in one moment. Five minutes in, Kelsey Orpin received a pass from her younger sister, freshman Gabby Orpin. As the goalie came off her line to cut off the shot, Kelsey sent a low ball just passed her and into the right corner of the goal. Fans roared and sprung to their feet. The team poured onto the field. The Mounties put history aside and seized their moment.
“Going into overtime was a little scary,” said Kelsey Orpin after the game. “We wanted to beat them more than anything. It was such a relief to see the cross from my sister and the opening in the net. I think the biggest reason for our success is the younger girls have really stepped up and everyone always plays their hardest.”
The girls will suit up again tonight against fifth seeded Sabis at Mt. Greylock at 6:00 pm in what will be their last home game of the season regardless of the result. The game is sure to be action-packed, and a win will put the Mounties into the semifinals.