Mills girls soccer continues to roll on unbeaten. Story by John Torsiello.
By, JOHN TORSIELLO
Lewis Mills girls soccer coach Jason Stock knew he had a poised, veteran and explosive team coming back in 2013. But this good? Well, he couldn’t even have predicted that.
The Spartans upped their record to 6-0 with a 7-0 domination of Terryville/Thomaston Friday afternoon in Burlington. The win was preceded this season by five straight victories, by scores of 7-0, 6-1, 8-0, 9-2, and 8-1. Get the idea? Six games into the new campaign and Mills hasn’t even been tested.
“I knew we had a chance to be really good but you never know if that is the way it all going to work out,” said Stock, a former professional soccer player in England who is in his second year at the helm of one of the state’s premier girls soccer programs. The Spartans won the Berkshire League title last year and advanced to the semifinals of the state Class M tournament. “We are aggressive all over the field and that’s been one thing that we have tried to instill in the kids. When you aren’t pushed in games complacency can creep in, and we try to work on goals within the games to avoid that.”
The Spartans have lost state title game appearances in 1998 and 2010, both to Suffield and both by one goal. They advanced to the state quarter finals in 2011 and Stock's first season ended with a trip to the Class M semifinals and a loss to eventual state champion Northwest Catholic last year.
Lewis Mills, off goals by Julia Pearson at 6:34 and Alessandra Santacroce at 18:31, was holding a 2-0 lead and it looked like the visitors might be able to at least hold the vaunted Spartan attack down on an overcast and unseasonably cool early fall afternoon.
But Mills, which has 12 seniors on its roster and starts nine of them, struck like a bolt of lightning from the gray skies, with Bailey Pace, Anna Marinelli, Pace again and Lesleigh Carter scoring within the span of 11 minutes of the first half and the rout was on. Mills outshot Terryville/Thomaston, 18-0, in the first half.
Morgan Bauer, Jen Merritt, Mackenzie Bergstrom, Santacroce and Marinelli had assists on the goals, with Marinelli’s tally coming on a long shot from about 20 yards out.
Mills substituted freely in the second half and the visitors’ defense played better, with the Spartans’ only other goal in the contest coming when Bergstrom arched in a long shot over Terryville/Thomaston goaltender Sarah Leger with about 10 minutes left in the game.
“We have a lot of weapons, not only up front but the entire team, from the defensive players to the forwards,” said Pace, a senior who is mulling a college soccer career but has yet to settle on a school. Her pair of goals gave her 14 on the season after scoring 18 her junior year.
“We pretty much take it one game at a time, work on small things and have fun out there. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep your focus when the game starts getting lopsided. But coach gives us things to work on when we are ahead and that keeps us sharp.”
Stock said he’s looking forward to next week when his team should get stiffer competition when the Spartans take on Litchfield and then perennial BL contender and arch-rival Nonnewaug in Woodbury Oct. 5.
“You might think that the defense hasn’t had much work but we work hard all over the field on possessing the ball,” said the head coach, who grew up in South Africa and came to the United States in 2009. “We’re looking forward to next week because Litchfield was second in the BL last year and Nonnewaug is unbeaten and is always a good team.”
Said Pace, “We’re excited about playing Nonnewaug. It should be fun and we will be pumped up to play them.”
Lewis Mills 7, Terryville/Thomaston 0
Terryville/Thomaston 0 0 0
Lewis Mills 6 0 7
LM-Julia Pearson from Morgan Bauer (6:34 1st)
LM-Alessandra Santacroce from Jen Merritt (18:32 1st)
LM- Bailey Pace from Mackenzie Bergstrom (28:49 1st)
LM-Anna Marinelli (32:44 1st)
LM-Pace from Santacroce (33:38 1st)
LM-Lesleigh Carter from Marinelli (39:26 1st)
LM-Bergeron (25:00 2nd).
Shots: LM 20, T/T 0
Goalies: T/T-Sarah Leger; LM-Taylor Anderson.
Records: T/T-2-4; LM-6-0.