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Champions Once Again. Thomaston adds field hockey to its list of titles with 2-1 win over H-K.

POSTED November 23, 2015
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

WETHERSFIELD: Thomaston senior Morgan Sanson had known coming in to the Class S championship against Haddam-Killingworth that goalie Meghan Cerino had tendencies she might be able to take advantage of if the opportunity presented itself.

With that knowledge in the back of her mind, the senior forward knew she just had to make one move count and count it did as she made Cerino miss on a move to the right then let a shot go from about 10 yards that found the back of the goal.

“We prepared well for this team,” Sanson said. “We actually played with two goalies in goal yesterday at practice because we just knew how good a goalie (Cerino) she was. I did know that she had been coming out far so I just needed to get one touch around her and get it to the back of the goal.”

What the senior champion brings to the table is not lost on her head coach.

“She’s tough (Sanson),” Brooke Holway said. “She’s got a lot of confidence up there and she’s one for big plays.”

The goal, with 9:18 to go in the second half, gave the Golden Bears something residents of the small town have gotten very used to. Another state championship, this time their first in field hockey. but their fifth overall over the past three years in three different sports.

And to think, their two best sports, basketball and softball have yet to come in 2015-2016.

The “Core Four” of the Golden Bears, Nicole Schaefer, Morgan Sanson, Julia Romaiello and Gabrielle Hurlbert got their elusive prize, the one sport the girls had not been able to be the last one standing.

Not anymore. The trophy case at the school that hosts under 240 students in total better feature a couple who can build because the case is growing by the minute.

Both goals were set up or scored by a player who now has four titles to her name, that being the older Sanson (yes state folks, there is another talented Sanson in the mix) who was fouled 12 minutes into the game inside the box, leading to a penalty shot goal by Alexa Milius that got by H-K goalie Meghan Cerino.

How important was getting on the board first for the top seeded Golden Bears?

“I think it was huge,” Holway said. “It was definitely a confidence builder and it gave us a lot of momentum for the rest of the game.”

The third-seeded Cougars tied the game six minutes after the Milius goal off a corner hit thr scrum in front of the Thomaston goal. Isabella Cosenza found the back of the net off an assist from Julia Kostek.

That goal seemed to awaken the third-ranked team from the Shoreline Conference who stepped up the pressure considerably for most of the first half.

Having experienced this time of the year, that being state tournament championship games when the pressure is high, it works in favor of Thomaston who can reach back to other moments they faced in other battles.

“I think we have been in those spots before this year,” Sanson said. “We just keep our composure because we know we are a good field hockey team with possession, but we just had to work on making good passes and keeping possession and capitalizing on what they gave us.”

Tied at a goal apiece at the half, it was anyone’s guess how the second half would go, but anyone who has also watched this Golden Bears team understands there is no intimidation factor what so ever at any point.

In the second half, the Bears started to maintain more control, especially when Milius started to take control down the right side for Thomaston.

Her ability to maintain control while moving the ball down the field is a superb weapon for the Bears and she’s back for two more years.

“Alexa is so tough and she’s just a sophomore,” Holway said. “She’s got a lot of speed and a lot of stick work and she’s usually involved in most of our big plays.”

The Cougars had several more opportunities in them and with just under four minutes, a high shot got perilously close to the Thomaston net, but was cleared away.

As time ran down, the experience factor for the top seed was evident in the way they maintained possession and moved the ball across the field, eating up time off the clock.

When it was over, Gabrielle Hurlbert, who now also (along with fellow senior Nicole Schaefer and Sanson) owns four state championships with two season to go, was understandably happy.

“I can’t believe we did it,” Hurlbert said. “All our hard work during the season paid off.”

Sanson, who does simply have that knack for being in the right place at the right time, knew she put a ribbon on her career with the stick.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” Sanson said. “I couldn’t think of a better way to end my senior year than by winning in field hockey.”

Basketball practice starts soon. Mohegan Sun awaits, doesn’t it?

We are all truly spoiled here in the Northwest Corner by having such a marvelous group of student/athletes who have taken us on a ride we may never see again. And it’s far from over.

Thanks, Golden Bears. Covering Championships is becoming pretty common place around here and we’ll take it whenever we can get it.

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