THOMASTON >> Thomaston’s field hockey team beat Lewis Mills 2-0 Tuesday afternoon in a win that unofficially passed the Berkshire League crown to the Golden Bears for the first since 1988.
The Bears, 11-0 in the Berkshire League, 12-1 overall, took a three-game lead over defending league and Class S state champion Mills (8-3-0-1) and Nonnewaug (8-3-0-1) with the win, with just three more game left in their regular season.
Remaining BL games are against 1-9-1-1 Wamogo, 5-6-1 Northwestern and 1-11-1 Northwestern.
“We’d have to lose all three of our remaining games,” said Bears coach Brooke Gomes Holway on her team’s chances of missing out on Thomaston’s first outright title since 1984. Since the league has no tournament, the 1988 crown was shared with two other teams with identical records.
This time, Thomaston can clinch it with a win over the Warriors at Thomaston Friday.
Nevertheless, after wins against Nonnewaug and non-conference Danbury last week, it was hard to get excited about an unofficial title.
“We got the job done; we did what we needed to do,” said Coach Holway, who tried to light a bigger fire under her team during and after the game.
“Our intensity wasn’t there,” said Gabrielle Hurlbert. “Our defense kept them out of the circle.”
“We didn’t come out at our best,” said Morgan Sanson, “but we stayed together. Our corners won the game.”
Julia Romaniello, Hurlbert and Sanson, veterans of Thomaston state championships in basketball and softball, combined to get the job done once in each half.
Each time, Romaniello passed out to the edge of the circle on penalty corners. Hurlbert was there to receive it. A pass in to Sanson by the box did what they had to do.
Each time, it was late in the half.
“We played them competitively,” said first-year Lewis Mills coach Joanne Neuhausser. “To keep the (No. 2) team in the Class S rankings to 1-0 for 57 minutes is an accomplishment.”
In a game in which penalty corners ruled, the Spartans had the first one, 15 minutes into the game, after give and take up and down the field.
Thomaston’s defense held. It was the only penalty corner of the game for Mills.
With growing time of possession, the Golden Bears had three penalty corners by the end of the half. The third, eight minutes from the break, produced the magical combination, Romaniello to Hurlbert to Sanson for the first goal.
Mills mounted pressure two minutes from the end of the half in its last real threat. The defense held.
Thomaston controlled most of the second half, but with it came Coach Holway’s frustration.
When a flip near the box arced wide right, she said, “We’re getting shots; we just can’t put it in.”
A pass that failed to advance upfield produced, “Nothing’s with a purpose.”
Three minutes from the end of the game, on their seventh penalty corner of the half, the Bears found their combination again, 2-0.
“We played (Class LL) Danbury for the third year in a row Saturday,” said Holway, whose team now leads in the Hatter series 2-1. “It’s a chance to get out of the Berkshire League onto turf to get ready for the state tournament.”
Mills reached its state championship last year after beating Thomaston in double overtime in the Class S second round.
It’s the only state championship the Thomaston seniors who play field hockey haven’t yet claimed.
Thomaston 2, Lewis Mills 0
At Thomaston High School
Lewis Mills 0 0 – 0
Thomaston 1 1 – 2
Goals: T – Morgan Sanson 2. Assists: T – Gabrielle Hurlbert 2. Shots: 6-3 Thomaston. Saves: LM – Jillian Mazon 2. T – Erin Fainer 3. Penalty Corners: 10-1 Thomaston.
Records: Lewis Mills 8-3-0-1; Thomaston 12-1 (11-0 Berkshire League).