WINSTED >> In its first game back from an epic boys soccer struggle against Nonnewaug last week, Lewis Mills (9-1) played almost even in the first half against a good young Northwestern team (6-4), then hit its stride for a 2-0 win in the second half Tuesday afternoon at Northwestern High School.
“We came out a little flat,” said Spartan coach Ben Kulas, whose team took a 2-1 overtime loss against Nonnewaug. “We had to battle; it was another challenge.”
The Highlanders saw it as an opportunity.
“We came out and played really well,” said Coach Andy Campbell. “I think we took them by surprise and it took them a while to get settled.”
Mills, a young team itself, stunned Northwestern 5-2 in the first game of the season, with three quick goals at the outset at Nassahegan Field.
Tuesday, the Highlanders tried to turn that around with its own best chances in the first few minutes of the game.
“We had to finish our opportunities and we didn’t do it,” said Campbell.
After that, the Spartans controlled the ball for much of the half (4-0 in first-half corner kicks), but Northwestern’s defense held.
“Our two central defenders (Alec Harwood and Jameson Weber) are as good as anybody,” Campbell said.
On Mills’ side, nobody hung their heads after Thursday’s loss.
“We took it as a positive,” said junior John Mudgett.
“We were the first ones to score a goal on them all season and we did it in the first seven minutes,” said sophomore Nick Lutrzykowski.
The Spartans improved on that in Tuesday’s second half.
Three minutes into the second half, Spartan Joe Fortuna fed Lutrzykowski with a clear lane to the goal.
Lutrzykowski drove through it like a commuter in an HOV lane, untouched for the game’s first score.
Four minutes later, he bounced a shot off the crossbar.
Nineteen minutes into the period, Mudgett, on a pass from Brady Fox, sealed the win with a shot forced through Northwestern keeper Caleb Boucher on a play in which some Highlander defenders were caught waiting for an offside whistle.
“We want to keep moving forward, improving every day,” said Coach Kulas.
“I want (my team) to be precise and play like Mill is playing, but we’re not quite there,” said Campbell. “Instead, we come out scrappy, which is okay.”
The Highlanders go to 10-0 Nonnewaug Thursday.
Mills is at 4-4-1 Housatonic.
Lewis Mills 2, Northwestern 0
At Northwestern High School
Lewis Mills 0 2 – 2
Northwestern 0 0 – 0
Goals: LM – Nick Lutrzykowski; John Mudgett. Assists: LM – Joe Fortuna; Brady Fox. Shots: 6-3 Mills. Saves: LM – Ben Smith/Jackson Lord 3. NW – Michael Neumann/Caleb Boucher 4.
Records: Lewis Mills 9-1; Northwestern 6-4.