Thomaston outlasts Lewis Mills in Class S field hockey thriller
Alexa Millus makes a pass during Friday's Class S quarterfinal against Lewis Mills. Mills scored 1:36 into the third overtime to lift the top-seeded Bears into a semifinal matchup with Canton.
LITCHFIELD - It took three overtimes but the Thomaston High field hockey team got a crucial third win over Lewis Mills this season.
Alexa Millus scored 1:36 into the third overtime to lift the top-seeded Bears to a 2-1 victory over the Spartans in a Class S quarterfinal matchup on Friday afternoon at Plumb Hill Field in Litchfield.
With the win, Thomaston (16-1) moves on to face No. 12 Canton (12-5-2-0) in the semifinals next week. The day and location of that matchup has yet to be determined. The eighth-seeded Spartans (13-4-0-1) saw their season and defense of the Class S title come to an end after a gutsy effort.
Last season Lewis Mills capped a perfect 19-0 season with a Class S state title and along the way they knocked off Thomaston, 1-0, in double overtime in the quarters. This year it was the Bears' turn to move on thanks to Millus.
"Oh definitely, this one feels good," Thomaston coach Brooke Holway said when asked if it was nice to be on the other end this time around.
The Bears won both meetings between the teams in the regular season on their way to the Berkshire League crown and it looked like a third win was in the offing early on. Morgan Sanson scored the game's first goal off an assist from Gabby Hurlbert to give Thomaston a 1-0 lead about midway through the first half. However, Mills settled in after that and the game was played on pretty even terms the rest of the way.
The Spartans got the equalizer with about 10 minutes left in regulation. Off a penalty corner, the Spartans kept the ball in the offensive zone after their first play didn't work. Carmody got the ball to the right of the cage and slid a shot to the far side and in to tie the game, 1-1.
"Our girls battled and gave everything they had, they never gave in," Mills coach Joanne Neuhausser said. "This team has a lot of heart, taking the number one seed into three overtimes and leaving it all on the field."
While Mills seemed to have the momentum the rest of regulation, Thomaston seized it back in the overtime sessions and had the better of the run of play. There was more room to roam with overtime played seven-on-seven and the Bears took advantage.
After two 10 minute overtime sessions failed to determine a winner, the Bears finally broke through in the third.
"In overtime we knew we had to put pressure on them and get off as many shots as we could," Millus said. "Morgan crossed it and I knew I had to try and get my stick on it and get a hard shot on it any way possible. It hit a stick and then went through another girls legs and came to me and I just fired it in."
"I think that our first seven players are really strong and really good at maintaining possession of the ball," Holway said. "We made good decisions with the ball and kept after them and finally broke through."
The Thomaston and Canton matchup won't be the first time that girls teams from those schools have met on a big stage as the Bears knocked off the Warriors in the Class S basketball state championship game last March. Canton is in the semifinals after winning an overtime game over North Branford, 4-3, in the first round and a double-overtime game, 2-1, over Stonington on Thursday.