THOMASTON – Title winning, history making. Now, that’s a season.
The Thomaston High field hockey season.
In a season that almost never happened narrowly becoming another victim to Covid-19, the Bears made it their season and one that will long be remembered for brilliance on the field and not conditions off the field. Maybe nobody summed up the Bears euphoric satisfaction than senior Hannah Laone.
As darkness began to muscle its way into a rapidly disappearing brisk mid-November Thursday afternoon Laone found a perfect perspective.
“This is insane, I just can’t help but smile,” she said backing it up with a grin that seemingly covered most of the Clocktown.
Laone’s smile could have been for the whole Thomaston High fall sports season but this one was reserved for the team that never experienced the lower score on the scoreboard. The Golden Bears had just held off a pesky Wamogo team for a 1-0 victory with Laone scoring what proved to be the game-winner late in the third quarter.
It was more than a season-ending victory in the Berkshire League Tournament Experience. It was the final notch for an undefeated season. The first one ever for a THS field hockey team. A title earns you shelf life, an undefeated title earns you a very long shelf life.
The Bears knew. Senior McKenna O’Sullivan called it “surreal.” Second-year head coach John Long talked about the almost unthinkable nature of it all and what it took to get to perfection.
“It’s unbelievable. I knew the team was good but I didn’t know how they would respond to pressure the last week and a half,” said Long. “The worked their butts off. They never lost their focus when everybody wanted to take us down.”
Indeed. These Bears proved they could win big and they could win gritty. For most of the season it was a flat out overpowering run. Led by six seniors – Laone, O’Sullivan, Bella Guerrera, Elli Marble, Alyssa Misenti and Gianna Misenti and a group of underclassmen that included Emma Sanson, Ariana Komonaj, Kaya Johnson, Kristen Foell and McKenzie Fairfax there were victories of immense proportions in field hockey circles, 8-2 over Wamogo, 7-0 over Nonnewaug and 5-0 victories over Litchfield, Nonnewaug and Shepaug .
With junior Aurelia Barker (12 goals) scoring with regularity and a balanced attack, the Bears just overwhelmed, outscoring the opposition, 48-4 for the season. But teams got better as the season rolled on and Long’s club was forced to show it could win the close ones too.
Vastly improved Wamogo took the Bears to overtime before losing, 2-1, Nov. 14 when Sanson scored with 55 seconds left in the extra period. In the post season Tournament Experience against Northwestern Regional Sanson was at it again converting a penalty strike in the second overtime for a 2-1 victory. Then it was Laone’s turn in the final game.
“I don’t expect anything less from our team,” said Guerrera of the Bears’ coming up big in the close games.
“We did what we knew we could do,” said Gianna Misenti who was nothing short of immense with key saves in the final trio of games. “
The perfection of the season was party born in the 2019 campaign. The Bears shared the BL title with Litchfield despite beating the Cowboys two times and tying them once.
“There was a little chip on the shoulders from last year,” said Long who is now 24-5-1 in two seasons.
After the first few victories this season, the Bears decided they kind of liked the feeling.
“After the first few games we just said let’s keep it going,” said Marble. “And keep it going.”
In what has been a painful, forgettable year, The Golden Bears created a delightful, memorable season. They won a title, they made history. And they will always be perfect.
All pretty cool. Laone was right. You just can’t help but smile. A season in the sun.