Bombers storm back, force tie

Bombers’ Jack Keeney (25) jockeys a Colt for possession of the ball during a boys soccer game Wednesday at Westfield High School. (Photo by Chris Putz)

WESTFIELD – It was not a win, but nor was it a loss.
Westfield rallied from a one-goal deficit to tie Chicopee Comprehensive 1-1 in a high school boys soccer season opener Wednesday in the Whip City. The Bombers avoided the loss, and a jolt from Mother Nature.
Mike Grochowski knocked in a game-tying header in the 43rd minute to secure a tie for Westfield after a strong thunderstorm unleashed its fury at the half. The score was made possible with a corner kick.
“The set up was beautiful,” Grochowski said. “It was a bunch of passes. …We just ended up finishing off the corner.”
Jack Fortier earned the assist.
Westfield nearly tallied the game-winner several times in the second half, peppering the Chicopee Comp goal throughout the remainder of the game.
Nichita Solopa delivered a pass to Robyn Gurung, who attempted to bury an eventual game-winning shot, but senior goalie Colby Carlson made one of his 14 saves against Westfield. Bombers’ Jack DeMarinis tried to bang back the rebound with a floater, but it just missed.
Westfield’s Alex Robitaille later followed up with a floater of his own, attempting to squeeze the ball into the near corner of the net, but Gurung leapt and extended his hands skyward to peel it back.
With about six minutes remaining, Grochowski launched a high shot but that too was saved. Gurung fired a shot about 15 yards outside the box. Carlson made the save.
Then, in the final 2:00, Grochwoski cleared the wall on a direct kick only to have the Bombers’ attempt thwarted.
“It’s a tie that feels like a loss,” Westfield boys soccer head coach Andrew Joseph said. “In the second half, I think our players were like ‘uh oh, red alert’. … Their goalkeeper made a lot of good saves.”
Westfield fell behind 1-0 when Comp’s Kyle Girourard scored a low roller in close off a corner with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
It was one of only five shots on net for Chicopee Comp in the game.
“They only really had one chance,” coach Joseph said. “To give one up on a corner like that is a little bit demoralizing. …I guess you hope if this happens to you then there’s some other games where you might squeak out a tie when you didn’t really deserve it.”
Last year, Comp bounced Westfield from the Western Massachusetts postseason tournament. The Bombers are hoping for better results this time around.
“We’ve got a lot of players,” said Joseph, who returns four seniors to help direct this year’s young team. “We just have to fit everything together in a way that works. We’ll do it. It will just take a little time.”
Said Grochowski: “We just need to work harder, finish. I think we’re heading in a good way, heading forward.”
Notes: The game was delayed by 30 minutes when a thunderstorm rolled through the area during halftime. After the teams waited out the storm, the two sides returned to the field to resume action.

Westfield 4, Holyoke 0
Four different players (Camryn Scanlon, Claire Griffith, Alli Guay, Lara Finnie) scored one goal apiece as Westfield posted a shutout for their second win in as many days. Scanlon, Griffith, and Abby Daley each had an assist.
Westfield goalie Lindsey Brown (3 saves) recorded a shutout.
“Westfield brought in a true team effort for today’s win,” Westfield field hockey head coach Courtney Albee said. “They’ve shown up this season in shape and ready to play which has shown success in the season so far.”

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