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Litchfield girls look to grab first state soccer title

POSTED November 25, 2011
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson

                            Litchfield girls look to grab first state soccer title

             LITCHFIELD - After losing in the quarterfinals of the Class S state tournament a half dozen times, all Litchfield High girls soccer coach Brian Mongeau wanted was to see his team play one of those big games on artificial turf.

            Well, Mongeau and his Cowboys will get more than that Saturday at noon when they play for the school’s first girls state title against defending champion No. 5 Immaculate-Danbury on the carpet of Municipal Stadium’s Ray Snyder Sr. Field.

            “Our goal this year was to play one game on turf and we did that in the semifinals against East Hampton,” said Mongeau. “But, I never thought about the finals until last week.”

            It will be a Litchfield day at Muncipal as the boys team will play for its state title against Somers immediately after. Mongeau admits the town is turned on.

            “The fact that we have teams back-to-back in the finals has the town excited,” said Mongeau. It’s kind of neat.”

            And very impressive. Mongeau’s seventh-seeded team (12-4-2) lost only to powerful Lewis Mills twice, rival Wamogo once and BL champion Nonnewaug once during the season and tied Nonnewaug in its last game.

            Buoyed by the tie, the Cowboys have dumped No. 10 Shepaug (4-1), No. 18 East Hampton (1-0) and No. 6 Old Saybrook (1-0) en route to the championship game.

            “This is the same core group that lost in the quarterfinals on PKs to Morgan who lost to Immaculate in the tournament last season,” said Mongeau. “Our goal was to advance beyond the quarters.”

            Litchfield has done it all in dramatic fashion. Senior Marissa Quesnel provided the game-deciding goal against East Hampton while Isabelle Binstadt electrified supporters, scoring with just nine seconds remaining against Old Saybrook.

            “They’ve shown they have the mental toughness to win the close games,” said Mongeau. “We took the momentum from the East Hampton game into the semifinals.”

            The Cowboys know what they are up against. Immaculate has flat out dominated Class S, winning eight titles in nine seasons. The Mustangs have roared through the tournament with wins over No. 12 Somers (4-1), No. 20 Coventry (5-1) and No. 17 Bolton (4-0).

            “I was lucky enough to see Immaculate play in the semifinals and very good and technically solid,” said Mongeau. “But I told the kids it is no different than playing Nonnewaug and Lewis Mills. We have focused less on them instead of what we can do well. We are a very good defensive team and create our offense off of that. It will be tough when you play a team as storied as Immaculate is. It doesn’t matter what they are ranked, they are always there.”

            Litchfield is also there this time around ready to five the Mustangs all they can handle.       

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