FARMINGTON — Defending Class M boys soccer champion Lewis Mills survived a first-round state tournament game 1-0 on an own goal by No. 28 Rocky Hill (7-9-1) on Tuesday night at the Farmington Sports Arena.
Playing in a steady rain on one of FSA’s turf fields, fifth-seeded Mills (14-2-1) won the possession game in the first half and dominated all but the last 10 minutes of the second.
Possession was a security blanket, but shots were hard to come by against a tough Terriers backfield.
Nine minutes into the game, Jake Cosentino was open for the first half’s best shot, off Terriers goalkeeper Chris Conlan, but the Spartans had just two other real chances in the first half.
Nevertheless, with a minute left in the half, possession finally paid off. With the clock ticking, one Mills corner kick skimmed off a defender’s foot out of bounds, setting up another.
With 35 seconds left, Carter Viets sent the second corner into the box. A Rocky Hill defender inadvertently ricocheted it into the net in the scramble.
“I’m happy about the win, but we didn’t really execute our game plan,” said Spartans coach Ben Kulas.
Still, Mills’ speed on the turf pulled away from the Terriers in the second half.
Conlan (six saves) bulled through a crowd in the Rocky Hill penalty box in the first minute. Mills got off three shots in the next 10 minutes. In the 12th, Conlan came up with the ball again in a major melee in the box.
Midway through the half, Rocky Hill mounted its most organized charge, stopped by the Spartans defense.
Mills’ counterattack produced a near-breakaway for Sam Di Sorbo. His shot bounced off and over Conlan onto the right post.
With 10 minutes left, Mills shifted into defense to hold its lead, giving up its possession game for long Terriers shots easily handled by Mills keeper Ben Harris (four saves).
“We could have done a better job managing the last 10 minutes,” said Kulas. “We still have a lot of things to work on, but we survived.”
When Lewis Mills moves from the Berkshire League to the CCC next year, its first league game is against Rocky Hill.
This year, first-year Terriers coach Kevin Williams was satisfied.
“I’m glad we made states,” he said.
Mills hosts the winner of today’s Valley Regional-Bacon Academy game Thursday in the second round.
LEWIS MILLS 1, ROCKY HILL 0
ROCKY HILL 0 0 — 0
LEWIS MILLS 1 0 — 1
Goal: LM — Own goal. Shots: 6-4 Lewis Mills. Saves: RH — Chris Conlan 6. LM — Ben Harris 4.
Records: Rocky Hill 7-9-1; Lewis Mills 14-2-1.