MIDDLETOWN - The Berlin girls soccer team was able to advance to the final round of the Class M tournament Tuesday evening in its 2-1 victory of the No. 1 seed, Lewis Mills.
The Redcoats would not have been able to make it to the championship without the help of their goalkeeper, junior Lindsay Walsh.
Walsh made a total of 11 saves against the Spartans and the saves were far from easy.
“I think our defense won the game for us,” center midfielder Julia Sisti said. “Lights out, they played so great.”
“[The defenders] just dominated,” Berlin head coach Katie Amenta added.
“They did exactly what my assistant coach, and I told them to do. We told them everything had to be quick, smart out of the back, no playing with it and you know just play it forward. Trust our offense, trust our speed and that worked.”
Amenta continued, “Every practice, we practice PK’s. We do it every time and Walsh is just quick, reflexively and saves things. I was confident going into the penalty kicks, and it worked.”
Wash threw her hands up and deflected all but one ball throughout the length of the game and two two-minute overtime periods.
She also blocked three of the Spartans’ four attempts in penalty kicks.
“It was an emotional rollercoaster,” Walsh said. “From my team keeping me up the whole time, even when I let that goal in, I couldn’t thank them enough for all they’ve done for me, not just today but this whole season. Especially in the PK’s them having my back, the whole way, I couldn’t ask for more.”
It’s nostalgic, for the first-year head coach as her team enters the Class M championship final. The last time the Amenta saw the championship round of the tournament was 1998, when she was a freshman for the Redcoats. Nineteen years later, she brings her team back.
“I teach at the high school and they come into my room everyday,” Amenta said.
“I have the banner on my wall, and they look at it and say ‘God we really want it’, and I say ‘I want you to really have that more than anything and I think that just getting there for these girls in the year that was supposed to be a rebuilding year of 8-8, is just so much more meaningful than anything.”
The Redcoats were ready Tuesday evening. Over the past week they did their homework and studied Lewis Mills, who they are as a team and how they play.
“We did some scouting got some reports and we knew who we had to mark.”Angella parella man marked one of their all-state players,” Amenta said. “She wasn’t even noticeable this entire game and I think that really made a huge difference.”
The Redcoats played a high pressure pace of play, they worked together and connected on every ball that they could.
“We countered quick,” Sisti said. “And I think that’s what got us our goal and I’m just so proud of the girls, we worked so hard and it was great. Everybody had a part in winning balls, everyone was fearless and got up for the ball, it was great.”
The Redcoats will play the No. 2 seed, Granby Memorial Saturday. A location and time will soon be announced.