Mills continues `first season'
BURLINGTON – This is supposed to be the second season, isn’t it? You know, state tournament time, one and done if you have the lower number, big pressure. Maybe so, but Lewis Mills wasn’t buying into all of it or any of it.
At Nassahegan Park Thursday afternoon in a Class M second round Veteran’s Day matinee, the Spartans were still in first season mode, which made for a very long day for No. 16 Haddam-Killingworth. How long you ask – how about 5-0 long. How about 29-2 Mills edge in the shot department long.
The Berkshire League season is long over but this was very much a continuation of the dominance coach Dennis Fowler’s team laid on their BL brethren while piling up a 16-0 mark and eventual No. 1 seed in Class M.
Different day, same overwhelming result. Also not unexpected.
“We have seven seniors and two juniors, that’s nine upper classmen,” said Fowler. “We’re talented and you can’t teach experience. A senior is a senior. Plus this team has been through a lot. We lost two BL titles to Nonnewaug and lost to them in the tournament on 19 penalty kicks. We went toe-toe with Suffield last year in the in the quarters. This team has learned from the past.”
There’s also a little message concerning the BL here. Come tournament time Rodney Dangerfield seems to get more respect. Mills threw up a caution flag on the sentiment.
“The BL doesn’t get a lot of credit, our closest game this season was 2-0,” said Lindsay Muri who deposited a pair of second half goals into the net. “We’ve just been ready and preparing. We talked about coming out strong and putting teams away early.”
“It’s important for us to show that just because we’re from the BL doesn’t mean we’re not good.” Added Carly Marenna who tallied the first two goals of the game.”
The Spartans know that No. 9 St. Joe’s – Trumbull, a 2-0 winner over Nonnewaug and Saturday’s opponent, is from the powerful FCIAC, but they’re proud of their BL blood and what they put on the field. So if there is disrespect, it is done at a risk.”
The Cougars (7-4-8) presented just three seniors to go against Mills and quickly found out that was a boatload too few. Marenna got the Spartans on the board with a gorgeous goal at the 11:25 mark when she took a pass from Paige Marinelli and back-kicked it into the goal.
“It was just spur of the moment,” she explained.
More like the first dagger for H-K. Marinelli also started the second goal with a pass to Muri who found Marenna for an equally effective if slightly less spectacular second goal at the 21:30 mark to make it 2-0. The Spartans outshot the Cougars, 15-0 in the half.
It all made for a pleasant if relatively subdued day for Mills goalie Lindsey Brown. She pretty much had time for a facial, to order out for Chinese, text 23 classmates and watch an episode of NCIS without being missed.
There were two saves on weak shots in the final minutes of the game but by and large the only heat Brown felt was from the exhaust of a car parked behind the goal in the first half.
Mills added goals in the second half, two off of Muri’s talented foot and final score from Anna Marinelli in the final two minutes.
The Cougars knew the score and it was more than just the numbers in the book.
“I was proud of our effort, it was there. We were just outmatched,” said H-K coach Eric Grant. “Lewis Mills is quality all over the pitch. Somebody will have to play their best game to beat them.”
Fowler has said this could be his best team ever. One powerful victory in a second round tournament game may not be concluding proof. But it might be beginning evidence. The first season continues and remains perfect.