Watertown's Championship Saturday....Story by Rick Wilson
WATERTOWN – Hey Roberto Medic the lumber yards are looking for you. They figure you are going to need some material to enlarge you trophy case.
Watertown’s first-year Athletic Director faces one of his biggest challenges today after Saturday – Where am I going to put all the new hardware?
Now there are big days, but I challenge to come up with a day bigger than Watertown had Saturday. Heck, the Indians redefined the idea. Just being in three championship events made it a `big day.’
Winning one title would have made it a bigger day. Winning two titles and who knows they might have renamed the gym or given everybody half a day off or something. Three titles? How about a parade? New cars? Okay, the budget can’t handle that. Dinner at Roma’s or Carmen Anthony’s ?
All hail Watertown after this performance. NVL girls soccer title. NVL boys soccer title. NVL swimming title. All wearing orange and black. If you find a load of recordings of Queen’s `We Are The Champions’ somewhere in the garbage near you it is because it got played for about eight straight hours in Watertown and people just got tired of it. Even Watertown superfan Marty Maccione was said to have shucked his cane and was doing a championship two-step.
Now, that is a big day.
It all started in the sun and bit of bluster at Municipal Stadium with coach Lisa Mariano’s girls soccer team. There is no better story all day, maybe all season than this one. This team lost nine starters from a year ago.
You want raw, this is unboiled potato raw. You might have made a case this team would struggle to be .500. But raw shouldn’t be mistaken for lack of talent. The Indians went through the season with a 12-4 record.
Still, it was big for this team to get to the championship game. On the other side of the ball you have Woodland, 17-1, having given up only two goals all season. A team that had downed the Indians twice by close scores, 2-0 and 2-1 but nevertheless, still owned two wins.
But a big day did not mean just being there for Mariano’s feisty group. Lily Cotas and Erin Montambault scored first half goals and the Indians made them stand up. They shut down the Woodland offense and did not wilt in the second half.
Cotas,the tournament co-MVP, pointed to a key ingredient – “People didn’t believe in us, but we believed in each another.”
Watertown’s day was just beginning but there was no bigger triumph than this one.
As the bite in the air increased at Municipal, it was the Watertown boys’ turn. Friend and colleague Joe Palladino called it `memorable’. Throw in a bit of epic and `classic.’ It was that good.
There was overtime drama here but when it comes to extra time the Indians own the day. Six overtime battles this season without a loss. You have to get the Indians in regulation.
John Good found a ball from Costa Gakidis in front of the net and scored what proved to be the game-winner four minutes into overtime. Watertown goalie Dave Hughs made a diving save shortly after to preserve the victory.
All of this under first-year coach Vitto Caligiuri and a second title in three years. A championship effort from Mike Fritch Jr.’s Torrington team but a championship for the Indians.
Watertown ruled the NVL soccer world by about 6:15 or so. But, there was more. Why settle for two when there is a third crown in the waiting.
The day moved into the night and venue moved inside to the Kennedy High pool. No contest. No drama just dominance. The Indians scored 908 points with their closest competitor Naugatuck in second with 641 points. That’s making a splash.
Katie Crochet did her best Missy Franklin routine with four first place finishes in the 50 and 100-yard freestyle races and as part of the 200 and 400-meter relays. Miranda Gursky won the 100 butterfly.
No big-time surprise here but very big-time impressive. Watertown coach Garry Smith’s squad owned the field, owned the meet and capped off the day.
Hey, if you looking for championship plaques call Watertown High School, they owned most of them Saturday. And Roberto, I have some extra lumber give me a buzz.Talk about a `big day.’ Black and orange everywhere you looked. And all holding championships. Wow!