WATERBURY - The Berlin girls soccer team finally ran out of upsets.
After knocking off four different teams throughout the Class M tournament, the Redcoats ran into a team they could stop as they fell to second-seeded Granby Memorial in the Class M title game 3-0 Saturday afternoon.
It was a tough match for No. 20 Berlin (12-9-0) from the start, with the Bears (19-1-0) forcing the Redcoats to play catch up for most of the afternoon. It proved to be too much, leaving Berlin still waiting for the program’s first state title.
“Any given day, any given game, a result could be different, today [Granby] was the better team,” Berlin head coach Katie Amenta said. “They won the ball. Upon reflection I’m sure we’ll all be thinking about this; the girls will be thinking about this. What could we have done differently? I wouldn’t have changed a formation, I wouldn’t have changed the lineup, I wouldn’t have changed subbing. I would just want the girls to fight a little harder for it and win those balls.”
The first half was a back-and-forth battle of possession. Both teams had multiple opportunities to score, but came up short. Berlin had a total of five shots on goal while Granby had ten in the first half.
Julia Sisti was awarded a free kick 2½ minutes into the match but was just shy.
“Sometimes our touches are there and sometimes it’s not, and today it just wasn’t there on offense for us,” Redcoats junior Angela Perrelli said. “We were there, we were pushing.”
Granby’s Sydnie Dorman was also awarded a free kick with 11 minutes left of the first half, but missed her shot as well.
Then with just 26.5 seconds left before halftime, the Bears’ Samantha St. Pierre was able to find the back of the net, in what turned out to be the difference-making goal, to put the Redcoats down 1-0. It was the first of two goals on the afternoon for St. Pierre.
“The first half was just a strong, fast, intense game, very physical,” Amenta said. “Some opportunities down on their end, down on our end, and with seconds left they scored their first goal, so they had some momentum going into the second half.”
The Redcoats tried to build on some offense of their own in the second half but were unable to score.
Berlin looked to equalize the score but constantly came up short. The Bears scored again when Maria Nolan’s left-foot, off-angle shot hit the back of the net to giving Granby a bit of insurance with 24½ minutes left in the game.
“We sent a few forward and then paid for it defensively when they had a fast break and scored their second goal,” Amenta said.
Sisti, meanwhile, constantly fought for possession of the ball, making multiple attempts at the goal. She almost made it 2-1 with 15:34 left, but Bears goalkeeper Felicia Fauteux deflected her shot.
With 7:22 left on the clock, Berlin keeper Lindsay Walsh made a vital save, but a penalty kick was awarded to the Bears in the process. St. Pierre took the penalty kick, and sank the ball into the back of the net to put the Redcoats in a 3-0 deficit.
Walsh finished the game with eight saves.
Berlin still was unable to find the net in the remaining minutes. As the clock ran out, Granby’s Emily Miller was given a yellow card, giving a free kick opportunity to senior captain, Alana Garofalo. Unfortunately, Garofalo’s shot went wide left.
“There were ups and downs this season,” Redcoats junior Maxine Muscatello said. “Being 8-8 nobody really expected us to come this far and I love proving people wrong so I think the way, obviously didn’t turn out the way we wanted too but the way we ended, really showed how passionate we are about the game, we’re not going to give up.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860)801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @shelbyiava