No matter how you look at it the Lewis Mills girls soccer team enjoyed a fantastic season.
The Spartans finished the regular season undefeated at 16-0-0. They won the Berkshire League title outright. They were ranked No. 1 in Class M. They won two state tournament games including a thrilling overtime win against Bethel at home in the quarterfinals.
And they went to the limit with East Catholic in the semfinals before dropping a “kick here or kick there” overtime game, 2-1.
The top-ranked Lewis Mills High girls soccer team got the tournament monkey of its back with a 2-0 victory over No. 16 Sheehan on Wednesday.
"At Mills, we always have so much pressure to win our first tournament game," coach Dennis Fowler said. "We felt it in the first half, but we got composed and really played well in the second half to earn the win."
After a scoreless first half, Mills dominated the second, outshooting Sheehan, 12-2. Junior Ailene Berry ripped a rocket from 25 yards out at 61:12 that Sheehan goalie Joelle MarkAnthony could not handle. Freshman Alyssa Wrabel was there to pounce on the rebound and put it in the back of the net for her 13th goal of the year.
Berry iced the game at 77:04. After receiving a pass from junior Jenny Merrit, Berry used her speed to weave through a crowd and blast her 18th goal of the year into the lower left corner.
Mel Senk made two saves for Lewis Mills (17-0-0). MarkAnthony and Kaitlin Lagase made 14 saves for Sheehan (10-5-3).
No team represents the difficulty ahead more than Lewis Mills girls soccer – in both the pursuit and the path to get here.
The Spartans have been the scourge of the Berkshire League since its start in 1985, claiming 22 titles in 29 years, including this one.
They have qualified for every state tournament since Hal Linden started the team in 1981.
Now, for the second year in a row, the Mills girls are undefeated (16-0) and ranked No. 1 in Class M.
Alyssa Wrabel netted two goals as visiting Lewis Mills clinched outright possession of the BL title for the third consecutive year with a 4-2 victory over Northwestern on Monday.
Ailene Berry added a goal and an assist, and Morgan Baker also scored for the Spartans (15-0). Ashley Doyle and Cally Roy had an assist apiece while Mel Senk and Lauren McCard combined to make four saves.
Kaitlyn Solak scored twice for the Highlanders (5-7-3), and Marissa Swartley had an assist. Gina Weingart made 18 saves.
Rachel Lord netted a goal 11:35 into the game as Lewis Mills earned at least a share of its 23rd Berkshire League championship with a 3-0 victory over Shepaug on Friday at Nassahegan Field in Burlington.
"This is a team that, all year, has wanted to prove that they are part of the Lewis Mills championship tradition," said Mills coach Dennis Fowler.
Lewis Mills took a huge step towards another Berkshire League title with a hard-fought 3-0 victory at Nonnewaug.
Rachel Lord scored twice and Chloe Waldron had a goal and an assist to lead the Spartans, who are now 13-0-0. Madison Hoyt and Morgan Baker also had assists, while Mel Senk got the win by making seven saves.
Nonnewaug (9-2-2), whose only two losses have come against Mills, got 22 saves from Sarah Shivera.
Lewis Mills can clinch its 23rd BL Championship on Friday night at Nassahegan Field with a win over Shepaug.
Lewis Mills, the only untied and unbeaten girls soccer team in the state, has received two first-place votes in the latest CGSCA ClassM/S State Poll.
While Suffield still sits at No. 1 despite a 2-2 tie with Class L power Avon, Mills (9-0-0) had only one game last week, in a 7-0 blowout of Terryville.
The Spartans return to action this week with three games.
Lewis Mills had eight different scorers in an easy 8-0 victory over Thomaston on Tuesday afternoon.
But the big news of the day was that Haddam Killingworth, the other unbeaten Class M team from the Shoreline Conference, was stunned in a 1-0 loss at Old Saybrook. The Spartans are now all alone at the top of the Class M rankings at 7-0.
Taylor LeBel, Lindsey Viets, Cally Roy, Jenny Merritt, Alyssa Wrabel, Morgan Baker, Brenna Jacques and Haley Pilkington scored for the Spartans (7-0) against Thomaston.
Mel Senk and Lauren McCard combined for 2 saves for Mills. Camryn Capaldo, Sam Brostek, and Sara Levasseur made 18 combined saves for Thomaston (0-6-1).
"It's a great win," said coach Dennis Fowler, who got first-half goals from Alessandra Santacroce and Cally Roy. "We faced adversity, and to respond the way we did is a real positive."
Lewis Mills' convincing 5-1 win over BL rival Nonnewaug moved the Lady Spartans up two spots in the Connecticut Girls Soccer Coaches Poll.
Mills, who debuted last week at No. 5, jumped to No. 3 with 77 points from nine coaches. Suffield and Haddam Killingworth are the top two teams in the latest Class M/S Poll.
Lewis Mills earned a huge early-season victory, handling arch-rival Nonnewaug 5-1 under the lights of Nassahegan Field.
Junior Ailene Berry lead the way with three goals, while senior Morgan Baker and freshmen Alyssa Wrabel added one each. Wrabel, junior Maddie Murdick and senior Rachel Lord had assists.
The Spartans (4-0) had what looked like a comfortable 2-0 lead late in the first half before the Chiefs' Molly Humphreys scored on a counter-attack with 2 minutes left in the first frame to make it interesting. But Berry scored two goals in the first nine minutes of the second half to put the game away. Wrabel would score her first-career goal on crafty cutback in the box at 56:05 for the final margin.
Lewis Mills is coming off a dominating Berkshire League regular season, where it went 16-0. But Mills was stunned in the Class M second round when it lost 3-1 to #16 Weston. This year's team will be in a rebuilding mode, as it must replace 13 seniors, including 10 starters.
There is reason for optimism, however, because this is Lewis Mills, a program with 22 BL Titles in 27 seasons. There is talent everywhere on the field, who have a little bit of everything – size, speed and talent. The only thing lacking is – varsity experience.