THOMASTON – Brian Rosano knew. In the midst of an outstanding season his Terryville girls soccer team had banged heads against archrival Thomaston four times. They had pushed, prodded and demanded the Bears come up big. They had emptied the considerable bag of effort.
In the end, Rosano and his team just had to tip their hats. Thomaston had every answer, every time. Friday was the final time as the top-seeded and undefeated Bears advanced to the Class S State Tournament semifinals for the second years in a row with their fourth victory of the season over No. 9 Terryville, 3-0.
Thomaston will play No. 5 Lyman Memorial, a 1-0 winner over Old Lyme, Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.
Even in the throes of a season-ending defeat against the team’s main rival, Rosano was able to offer up an appreciative smile at what Thomaston has offered up this season.
“(Thomaston) has quality at all 11 spots and has tremendous athletes and skill at all the positions,” Rosano said. “Jen (Thomaston coach Ewart) does a great job. We fought games against them and threw everything at them. We tried to crack the code and they made adjustments. But quite frankly we needed to play our A game and they had to play like their B-minus for us to be able to compete. But, they didn’t. They are just that talented. With 11 people across the board who are dangerous, who are capable, who are athletic you struggle to find a weakness against against a team like that.”
The Bears are in the midst of a historic campaign, having already captured the Berkshire League title and BL Tournament title for the first time in school history and posting a record for most wins in a season. They were not about to let the glow of accomplishment come to an end on this day.
If beating a good team three times in one season is tough, how about four? The Bears never gave it a second thought, moving forward not looking back.
“We prepped for this game like any other,” Ewart said. “What happened prior to this is history. It’s in the books. You have got to look forward. There was no apprehension. I think we actually benefitted because we knew the opponent.”
The Bears eliminated any thoughts of a white-knuckle affair drenched with drama. In front of a large crowd, they took control in the first half and kept control in the final 40 minutes. A two-goal outburst in less than a three minute span put Terryville (12-7-1) in an untenable position from which recovery was never found.
The damage came from the Bears two leading scorers, Claire Saunders and Sophia Coer. Saunders took a pass from Coer 10 yards out on the right side of the net and her lethal right foot took care of the rest as she deposited the ball in the left side of the net with 20:07 to go in the opening half.
Not to be outdone Coer got into act just over two minutes later. After taking a pass from Rejhana Aliu and then did a little two- step, some bobbing and weaving and little shake and bake toward the center of the net and connected with the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.
“We wanted to go in this game strong like we did against Nonnewaug in the BL Tournament championship,” Coer said. “We had a strategy to get the first one in and then the adrenalin started flowing. “
Terryville had some opportunities, including hitting the crossbar late in the first half and the Kangaroos were a presence at times in front of the Thomaston goal in the second half but the Bears kept the net clean and had their own offensive surges in the second half.
Terryville’s best chance to score came late in the game only to see Thomaston goalie Kara Sacco make a leaping save to preserve the shutout. Thomaston’s last score came off the foot of Katie Guerin with 1:25 left.
Thomaston has eight starting seniors. The last home game might have snuck into their thinking to go along with everything else.
“We have a lot of seniors and we talked about this being the last home game ever and how do you want to remember this time?”
Safe to say the memory will be a special one.
And now, two down.