WESTFIELD – If you blinked once, you might have missed a goal from Jonathan Baillargeon. If you blinked twice, you likely would have missed a goal from Brady Collins.
Collins and Baillargeon connected on two scoring plays for St. Mary’s in the opening minutes of Monday’s high school boys soccer game against Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School and the Saints cruised to a 4-0 shutout at Westfield Intermediate School to remain undefeated (4-0).
“We had a fast start,” said Baillargeon, who finished with a hat trick. “That goal within the first minute really helped. With our offense working around the top of the box, that is really helpful. …We worked as a team. Whoever’s got the goal scoring opportunities, we are going to put them in.”
Baillargeon’s first goal in the first minute was the result of a nice give-and-go play between Baillargeon and Collins. A moment later, Baillargeon took a rebound and rolled the ball backwards with a quick sweep of his foot to Collins, who hammered it in.
“Right off the bat, we didn’t even dribble the ball,” Collins said. “The first 30 seconds, it was just 1-2 and (Jonathan) finished. A good two minutes down the line, he passed it to me and I just took the shot. When me and him get going, teams really can’t slow us down because they don’t really know what to do. We have a pretty good duo going right now.”
This St. Mary’s team is truly more than a two-player act though.
Everett Stec helped influence the first scoring wave and nearly added the team’s third goal when a header went wide, and another went high shortly thereafter.
Baillargeon eventually made it 3-0 with some fancy footwork, deking a defender and tapping the ball into the opposite side of the net.
Jonathan Baillargeon’s brother, Thomas, kept the game scoreless with a diving save just before the end of the first half and another stop early in the second half. The Saints goalie also thwarted a penalty kick from Sebastian English, making a diving stop.
Thomas continued to make several saves in the second half, tipping a ball into the crossbar and leaping into the air to corral it. Late in the game, Thomas preserved the shutout with a flurry of saves, including bursting into a scrum to seize ahold of the ball. He finished with 13 saves.
“I just don’t let them in,” St. Mary’s sophomore keeper, Thomas Baillargeon explained. “That’s my mindset.”
Thomas Baillargeon credited junior goalie Amelia Willenborg for helping him train. Baillargeon is a former striker/right winger. “I decided being in goal was the best thing for my team,” he said.
With four straight wins to begin the 2021 fall season, it is one of the strongest starts for the St. Mary’s boys soccer team in recent memory.
“We’re encouraged for sure,” St. Mary’s boys soccer coach Andy Lussier said. “It’s good that we have this start and we know what we still have to work on.”
St. Mary’s offense unraveled somewhat in the second half, playing with a large lead and often going one-on-one against PVCICS. “We were really effective when we had our give-and-go’s going but when that stopped we struggled from there. We started to lose our shape and started stabbing at the ball.”
Still, the Saints are in a much better place than a year ago.
“Things are better than we’ve had in the past, considering last year,” coach Lussier said. “At least now we’re getting some wins.”
St. Mary’s will look to extend its winning streak Wednesday when the Saints travel to Palmer to take on Pathfinder. Game time is 4 p.m.
Montagna lifts Brownies
Agawam 2, Westfield 0
After a back and forth 65 minutes, Jayden Montagna scored unassisted after a short corner. He chipped the keeper four minutes later to make it 2-0. Aiden Van Oostveen made 5 saves for Westfield, a couple worthy of the highlight reel. Jack Patterson made 3 saves for Agawam.
Bombers hit quarter mark unbeaten
Westfield def. Frontier, 25-17, 21-25, 25-20, 25-22
Westfield remained unbeaten (5-0) by closing out its first round of Eastern League play with a 3-1 win over Frontier.
Livia Ciubotaru (15 kills, 3 digs, 1 ace), Lauren Carnes (10 kills, 8 digs, 4 aces), Emma Petzold (9 kills, 1 ace, 3 blocks), Abigail Menzel (34 assists, 2 aces, 9 digs), Kaitlin Price (7 assists, 2 aces, 27 digs), and Kailey Rowell (3 aces, 8 digs) led the Bombers.
Paulo Friere def. Southwick, 25-14, 25-20, 25-20
Gillian Borque (3 aces, 4 assists, 10 digs), Lina Carr (3 aces, 8 digs, 1 kill), Aniya Kamara (12 digs, 2 kills, 2 blocks), Emily Hanifan (3 aces, 3 digs, 3 kills, 2 blocks), Mia Pompi (1 ace, 9 digs), and Emily Buchter (22 digs) led Southwick.
Bombers nip Spartans
Westfield 162, East Longmeadow 165
Westfield improved to 3-3 with a narrow win over East Longmeadow at Tekoa Country Club.
Jeremy McCormick and Joey Calderella each shot a 39 to lead Westfield. Bombers’ Anthony Schabowski and Andrew Florek finished with a 41 and 43, respectively.
East Longmeadow’s Kyle Garvey shot a match-low 38.