WATERBURY - After knocking off four top teams throughout the Class M state tournament, the 20th-seeded Berlin girls soccer team finally met its match Saturday afternoon when it fell to second-seeded Granby Memorial in the state championship game, 3-0.
“We gave it all we got,” Redcoats goalkeeper Lindsay Walsh said. “We knew that [Saturday] was going to be tough, just like [Lewis Mills in the state semifinals on Tuesday], but once again I have to say we did everything we could, [Granby] just came out on top.”
The first half was a back-and-forth battle of possession. Granby’s Samantha St. Pierre scored the first goal of the game with just 26 seconds left to go in the first half.
The Redcoats had multiple opportunities to score, but constantly came up short. The Bears had the momentum going into the second half and never looked back.
“We tried to build on some offense in the second half,” Berlin head coach Katie Amenta said. “So we sent a few forward and then payed for it defensively when they had a fast break and scored.”
The Bears’ Maria Nolan scored on a left kick to give them a bit of insurance, but it was St Pierre’s penalty kick that sealed the deal.
“It was really hard-fought. I think both teams played great soccer today, but unfortunately it didn’t go out way,” Redcoats junior Maxine Muscatello said. “I think definitely in the second half, we came out a lot stronger than the first. We were just settling in in the first half and getting a feel for what Granby had to offer, but it just didn’t go our way in the second half.”
Berlin started its season off strong with two back-to-back shutout wins against Maloney (7-0) and Platt (6-0) before dropping its first match of the season with a 1-0 loss to the defending Class LL champion, Glastonbury.
After that loss the Redcoats seemed to turn things around, winning their next three games. But then they hosted RHAM, starting a five-match skid.
“This was the hardest season we’ve had for soccer so far in all of our years being here,” Redcoats junior Angela Perrelli said. “We ran a lot and we practiced hard every single day. It clearly paid off, because we made it to the title game, but I think we all tried our best. We’ve been practicing for this for a long time and we’re just happy we came this far, even though it didn’t end the way we wanted it to.”
In its last seven matches - in which Berlin went 5-1 - the team scored 18 times.
“This past season has been unbelievable,” Walsh said. “I remember going to the first game at Sage Park, we didn’t think anything of it, we were ready to be done and we got here, which is incredible.”