Mills girls soccer season comes to an end....
BURLINGTON: It’s just not something you are used to seeing when you come to Nassahegan Field, part time home of the Lewis Mills Spartans girls soccer team.
There was a team dominating play and coming away with a 3-1 win but it wasn’t who one would have thought.
If you look at the Class M State Tournament rankings, #16 Weston beating #1 Mills by that score would look like an upset but we’ve all been at this long enough to know that when we say you can throw out the records, we’re not kidding.
The Trojans (8-5-1) jumped on the Spartans (16-0) with a goal just 10-minutes into the game, then built it to a 2-0 lead at the half before leaving Burlington with another game on tap while the home team laments what could have been.
Weston moves on to take on Woodland, a team from the NVL on Friday thanks to an offense that started early, stuck with their game plan and played their game.
“We just tried to concentrate on playing our game,” head coach Gustavo Reaes said. “One of the parents looked on Max Preps and saw number 10 (Bailey pace) had 31 goals so we put two girls on her.”
Mills head coach Jason Stock, who had been worried about his team’s lack of competition in a down Berkshire League in which they averaged over six goals per game.
When Charlotte Cenatiempo scored in those early minutes of the first half, it marked the first time the entire season that they found themselves behind.
Think about that. Not once did Mills have to think about being down and coming back.
Spartan goalie Taylor Anderson often found herself handling the ball a handful of times a game most days so when Audrey Dannenbaum drilled a rocket from twenty yards out off of her, she did not secure it, the ball bounced off top her left about ten yards out.
You could see Cenatiempo running all alone down the right side towards the goal and when the rebound came her way, she had an easy set up for the opening score.
How big was that first goal?
“That goal was huge,” Reaes said. “I don’t think they expected us to break through so early and it got us off to a great start. They had a couple of chances at the start but they didn’t convert.”
Indeed, Alessandra Santacroce had sent a shot into the side of the net less than two minutes in and Pace had just missed a solid shot just before the Trojans first goal.
Two things worked in Weston’s favor coming in.
The team plays against a much stiffer competitive level each and every week, their last two games had been against South West Conference foe Immaculate, a girls’ soccer powerhouse.
Weston plays Joel Barlow, New Milford and were ranked eighth in their league with an 8-5-3 record but against stiff opponents most night.
Wind played a factor for the visitors as well with a decent breeze adding yards to most of their goal or free kicks.
Goal keep Isabel Berch, just a sophomore, had a booming kick out of the gate but added more distance in the wind.
Facing a goalie that could change field position as Berch did was a constant bother to the home team in the first half.
The visitors would up the lead with just under 14 to play in the half when junior Hannah Gluck used a flip-throw to put the ball at the top of the box and after a scrum up front, Dannenbaum cleaned up with a shot into the left side of the goal for a 2-0 lead.
This was new territory for the Berkshire League champions, down by two goals at the half.
Where would they draw their comeback energy from? At no time in 16 games had they faced a deficit after 40-minutes.
Still, this was a team we have seen score four or five goals in half so anything was possible.
Trouble was, the Trojans also knew how to protect a lead.
A solid defensive back line disrupted anything the Spartans tried to get done.
Cenatiempo struck again with just under 15 to play when she broke behind the Mills defense and stretched the lead to 3-0.
Pace would score her final goal of a brilliant career for the Spartans but it was too little too late.
In other league like the NVL, we have seen the teams play outside their league over the last few years.
Torrington played both New Fairfield (1-1 tie) and New Milford (6-1 loss) this year on the girls side while the Raider boys faced off against New Milford (2-0 win).
Maybe it’s time for the BL to allow teams the opportunity to go outside the box in order to get them ready for the next level.
Just a thought…