Chiefs make Field Hockey statement
BURLINGTON – Let’s be honest, nobody expected this. Not Lewis Mills, not Nonnewaug, not the fans. The result? Maybe. The margin. Not a chance. It was a performance of power and precision and it wasn’t close.
Nonnewaug 3, Lewis Mills 0.
For the most part the Berkshire League field hockey has belonged to Mills in recent years – seven straight titles, statewide recognition. Even with the undefeated Chiefs standing on the other side of the field, the edge based on history and home field where the Spartans hadn’t lost since the 2007 season, seemed to lie with the Mills.
Let’s throw in that the Spartans also hadn’t lost a BL game since the 2008 campaign.
Umm, Nonnewaug laid all that edge stuff to rest on this day and if there was any ill-advised doubt, it left no doubt about being the real deal. This wasn’t a game decided on a ball kicked in the net in the final minutes. This was about a mighty fine Chiefs’ team with a 10-0 record that demands to be noticed and wasn’t about to detoured.
So long the chaser and now the chased and boy did it feel good.
“We’ve been so close for so long,” said Caroline Kuzma who scored the team’s first goal. “It’s so nice to be on top. It’s bittersweet because I’m a senior.”
And as long as we’re being honest, the sweetness in the victory for the Chiefs was not just because the win came in a battle between two undefeated clubs but because the other team wears Lewis Mills proudly on its jerseys.
The Spartans (7-1) have become the Yankees of BL field hockey and any title goes through Spartanville these days. In fact these two teams will hook up again in Woodbury next week in what should be a real donnybrook with probably the title in the offing.
Beating the Spartans, well we’ll let Nonnewaug coach Kathy Brenner tell it.
“Any win is spectacular no matter where you win it,” said Brenner. “To win against a team with a record of being as tough as Mills is really spectacular. And, they didn’t break our 10-0 record. It’s phenomenal.”
The Chiefs seemed to need about 15 minutes to convince themselves they could win this game and then just plain took off. Mills kept the ball in front of the Nonnewaug net early on to a point where a scored seemed imminent. When it didn’t come the advantage was gone.
Midway through the half, Caroline Kuzma got her stick on the ball amid a mad scramble in front of the Lewis Mills net and planted in the back of the goal for a 1-0 lead and the Chiefs never looked back.
“”We mentally took over,” said Nonnewaug’s Michelle Cawley.
“Once we got the first goal it was like, we can do this,” added Brenner.
At the 11:30 mark of the second half Katie Accashian took a centering pass from Michelle Cawley and made it 2-0. Not done yet, Cawley made it 3-0 off a pass from Alexa Brazauskas late in the half. .
Along the way, the Chiefs missed a penalty shot or the score would have been larger. The Chiefs posted a 7-1 shot advantage in the second half and 11-2 for the game. Mills was able to mount little in the way of an attack at one point even producing a frustrated chuckle from coach Maggie Tieman after a poorly executed corner hit..
Tieman didn’t like what she saw from her team but admired what the Chiefs threw at her club.
“I saw a Nonnewaug team play a superior game,” said Tieman. “They were going to every ball, filling in the holes, executing. We missed touches, we didn’t support one another. We didn’t do the things Lewis Mills always did. We didn’t play Lewis Mills hockey.”
Mills’ Megan Osanitsch figures maybe there was a lesson in it all for Mills.
“Nonnewaug beat us to the ball, they wanted it more than we did,” said Osanitsch. “Sometimes it is like we are Lewis Mills and that means we are going to win. Teams like Nonnewaug are very good and can come out and beat us. We have to play without regret.”
Right now big changes are afoot in the BL. The title now goes through Woodbury. The Chiefs didn’t ask for attention, they demanded it in powerful fashion.
Even while they anticipate next week’s rematch, Mills will tell you that.