Litchfield/Mills play to a 1-1 final in boys soccer.
LITCHFIELD: Sometimes a tie can give one team the feeling that they lost while the other feels like they came out on the winning side.
Such was the case on Tuesday afternoon at the Plum Hill Fields in Litchfield as the Cowboys fought their way to a 1-1 tie with Lewis Mills.
Playing to contests without a clear cut winner has become something of a specialty for the Spartan who have now played to ties in their last three contests after starting the year with clear cut wins.
“We just can’t put the ball in the net right now.” Spartans head coach Ben Kulas said. “After those two good wins to open the season (3-0 over Shepaug and 10-0 over Thomaston) we aren’t finishing.”
Since then the Spartans have been fit to be tied (sorry) and have had it happen in three straight games.
Mills played to a 1-1 knot against Nonnewaug and played 90 minutes without scoring in a 0-0 match against Northwestern.
For the home team, this tie is something they can build on, according to head coach Rob Andrulis.
“I’m happy to come away with a tie in a game like this.” Andrulis said. “We just kept hanging around down 1-0 and a couple of great passes later, it’s tied up.”
Litchfield came into the game with a 1-3 record and are still in the process of finding their identity.
“We have a lot of seniors but they need to figure out how to work together.” Andrulis said.
The Cowboys lost to the Berkshire League leaders, Northwestern (6-0) and Nonnewaug (3-0) before picking up their first win against Gilbert (2-1).
In their last outing they lost to cross town rival Wamogo 3-2.
“Anything can happen when we play each other.” Andrulis said.
In the first half, Litchfield appeared to be the aggressor over the first 20-minutes but it would be the visitors who would break through first in the 30th minute.
Off a corner kick, the Cowboys failed to clear the ball from the middle and it landed near the feet of Mills forward Seth Ouellette who blasted it past Nick Andro for a 1-0 lead.
Litchfield had had the best of play in the half but the Spartans made the most of limited chances and went to the break leading 1-0.
The home team kept the pressure up as the second half got underway and only a great save by their goalie prevented a tie game.
11 minutes in, Blaise Pope put a corner right into the box near the goal and it found Jack Donavan who had visions of a tie score thwarted when Alexander Daigle made a diving save.
With 20-minutes left, Andrulis went to his bench and called on a player who had not seen much action since missing all of last year with an MCL injury.
Andrulis brought Spencer Persechino off the bench and gave him a mission.
“Coach wanted me to take the lead on the field.” Perechino said. “He wanted me to get everyone’s energy up and play harder.”
The substitution worked and the Cowboys woke up and a little more than eight minutes later, put home the equalizer.
The play was textbook for Andrulis, it was something he had been begging his team to do all game.
Move the ball from side to side across the field and then send something over the middle from the edges.
Eric Mastrianna started the play with a pass from the center of the field to Donavan, racing down the right side.
Donavan crossed the ball to Pope who was happy to oblige his coaches wishes by putting the game tying goal past Daigle.
Mills threatened twice more time in regulation with a shot that hit the cross bar and was cleared while a second cross to Jordan Sokol was turned away at point blank range by Cowboy goalie, Nick Andro
Neither team had many looks at the goal in either of the five-minute extra frames and another tie and frustration went into the Spartans record book while the Cowboys look to use this as prove they can play well and with anyone in the BL.