WETHERSFIELD >> In the regular season, Shoreline Conference rivals Haddam-Killingworth and Westbrook played a pair of close, tight games. The Cougars scored the only goal of the game in a win on Sept. 28 and the teams played to a scoreless tie on Oct. 20.
The same kind of close, tight game was expected on Saturday when the two teams met in the CIAC Class S championship game.
While the game wasn’t scoreless, it did end up in a tie with the Knights’ defense countering the Cougars’ dominating ball possession, especially the last 50 minutes of the game.
Alexa Mulvihill, the Shoreline Conference’s top scorer and one of the top scorers in the state, scored with 4 minutes, 2 seconds to go in the first half to lift No. 1 Westbrook to a 1-1 double overtime tie with No. 3 Haddam-Killingworth at Cottone Field. The Cougars and Knights finish as Class S co-champions.
Mulvihill’s goal was of the rare chances Westbrook had to score with Haddam-Killingworth outshooting the Knights 10-2.
“There was a scramble in front of the net, and when I got the ball, my teammates kept telling me pull right, pull right,” said Mulvihill, who normally pulls left with her shots. “So I shot right and as soon as I shot it I knew it was going in the net. This season has been so much fun. I am so happy we can bring a championship home for our town and for our coaches who are all like my second moms.”
The only other time Westbrook (19-1-2) was in a state final it won a Class M championship in 1975. Westbroook coach Janet Dickey said experience was one factor why the Knights went from four wins in 2015 to Class S co-champs in 2016.
“This past week has been surreal, to see what our record was last year and to see what we have accomplished this season,” Dickey said. “It hasn’t sunk in yet. We are one of the smallest S schools and we only have 19 girls on our team. But these don’t get rattled.
“Our goalie Lauren (Wright) played an amazing game. She kept our girls in this game. The bottom line is I’m glad we’re sharing this title with them (H-K). Our Shoreline Conference doesn’t always get a lot of respect around the state and now we might get that respect.”
In the first half, with a scramble for the ball in front of the net, Brinley Anderson took a short pass from sister Molly Brinley and scored to give HK a 1-0 lead with 13:52 to go.
Westbrook responded with Mulvihill’s goal to tie the game. It was Mulvihill’s 31st goal, which is a signle season school record.
In the second half, HK dominated on offense and produced eight penalty corners. But the Knights defense, including three game-saving clears by Wright, preserved the tie.
In the second 10-minute overtime, Haddam-Killingworth had their chance to get the win. There was a scramble for the ball nearthe right post. Wright went down, leaving the left side of the net wide open. The ball slipped loose and trickled acrosse the mouth of the open net. An H-K player tried to get to it but the ball was cleared away to keep the tie in tact.
Haddam-Killingworth (16-3-2) also won Class S titles in 1994, 2005 (co-champs with Lewis Mills) and 2012. H-K coach Patsy Kamercia, with all the opportunities her team had late in the game, was a little disppointed.
“We controled the overtime, we were right there that last time, and couldn’t score,” Kamercia said. “All we needed was that last touch to the goal. It’s frustrating to be so close.
“Alexa made a great shot to get their goal and their defense was good. Their goalie made some great saves. We had our chances, we just couldn’t put the ball in for that second goal.”
Class S championship
Haddam-Killingworth 1, Westbrook 1 (2 OT, co-champions)
Haddam-Kill. 1 0 0 0 — 1
Westbrook 1 0 0 0 — 1
First half—HK: Brinley Anderson (Molly Anderson) 13:52; WBK: Alexa Mulvihill 4:02; Shots—HK: 10; WBK: 2; Saves—HK: Abbie Bagnoli 1; WBK: Lauren Wright 10; Team records—Haddam-Killingworth 16-3-2; Westbrook 19-1-2