FALLS VILLAGE >> Starting with a take-down in the penalty box, a Housatonic 3-2 win over Lewis Mills in overtime at Housatonic High School Thursday was the kind of rock-em-sock-em girls soccer game fans have come to expect at the top of the Berkshire League.
“That was the most physical game I’ve ever played in,” said Mountaineer Chloe Dakers. “It pushed everyone harder.”
Mills (9-2), a perennial threat for the BL crown and deep runs in the state tournament, beat Housy 3-0 in the second game of the season last month while
Housatonic star Lauren Segalla was out recovering from an ACL tear over the winter.
With the state record for career goals (120 and counting) under her belt, Segalla is the kind of player no good team lets into the penalty box without a fight.
Thursday at Housatonic High School, that fight came in the first minute of play.
Spartan Coach Dave Francalangia saw it as an even tussle for the ball. The refs saw it as a takedown, awarding Segalla a penalty kick for the game’s first goal.
Mills pressure built steadily from there.
By the 15th minute, Housy keeper Molly Dowd already had several spectacular saves. Now she made a few more.
And still, Spartan pressure brought the ball out to Alyssa Wrabel, passing quickly to senior captain Cally Roy trailing behind.
Roy rifled in the tie from 20 yards out.
“There was a lot more action than usual,” said Dowd. “I like games like this.”
She had 10 saves altogether, often two at a time.
Nevertheless, still tied at the half, the outcome seemed a matter of time for a knockout flurry from the Spartans.
“At halftime, (Coach Tess Segalla) said they were playing with a lot more heart than us,” said Dakers.
“They know if I walk away at halftime, something needs to change,” said Coach Segalla. “That first goal was wide open. They always play with a trailer and you have to watch her. I get sick of telling them that.”
Coach Segalla’s talk/silence worked wonders. Mills keeper Lauren McCard came under siege from the second half’s opening touch, with a pair of great saves off a corner kick and a scrum close to her net.
Thirteen minutes in, Dakers took a pass from Josie Horosky, firing it to the goal with an unstoppable ricochet off a defender’s hip.
Down 2-1, the Spartans turned the play back up to even.
“We played our style for 65 minutes,” said Coach Francalangia. “They took it to us a little in the second half.”
Ten minutes from the end of regulation, Wrabel tied the game again on a pass from Eliana D’Oca.
Three minutes into the 10-minute overtime, Segalla, a senior headed for Division I West Virginia, got the ball on the left wing with a clear path to the goal.
Playing it off her body a few times on the run, she fired from 15 yards. McCard dove for the stop; the ball squirted back out. Segalla, still coming, booted it home for the winner.
Neither team has time to relax.
Housatonic is at 10-0-1 Nonnewaug Tuesday; Mills goes to 8-3 Terryville.
Northwestern tied the Chiefs 2-2 Thursday afternoon, but Nonnewaug is the only other team with wins over both Housatonic (2-1 with Segalla out) and Mills (5-1 last Friday).
Housatonic 3, Lewis Mills 2 (OT)
At Housatonic High School
Lewis Mills 1 1 0 0 – 2
Housatonic 1 1 1 0 – 3
Goals: LM – Cally Roy; Alyssa Wrabel. H – Lauren Segalla 2; Chloe Dakers. Assists: LM – Wrabel; Eliana D’Oca. Shots: 12-10 Mills. Saves: LM – Lauren McCard 5. H – Molly Dowd 10.
Records: Lewis Mills 9-2; Housatonic 9-2.