Suffield Loses Heartbreaker to Lewis Mills in Class M Championship

By Adam Betz

NEW BRITAIN— If there was one word to describe Suffield’s 3-2 loss to Lewis Mills in the Class M boy soccer state championship game, it would be heartbreaking.

The number 5 seeded Wildcats (16-4) saw their quest for another state crown end on a goal by Lewis Mills’ Dylan McCall with only 10 seconds left to play.

“With 10 seconds left on the clock, you can’t come back from that,” Suffield head coach Mark Cervione said.

The no. 2 seed Spartans (19-0-1) came out of the gate fast, with McCall scoring in the second minute of play. It wasn’t until the 30th minute of the first half that Suffield got a break. A Spartan foul inside the box left Suffield, and Mike McFarlane, with a penalty kick. McFarlane cashed in on the opportunity, tying the game and giving the Wildcats momentum going into halftime.

The Wildcats started the second half with a fury, highlighted by Dylan Carzello’s goal in the second minute. A crucial moment occurred in the 25th minute, with McFarlane receiving a yellow card. On the ensuing free kick, goalkeeper Henry Cutler made the save, preserving the Wildcats’ lead.

Less than a minute later, John Mudgett tied the game at 2 for Lewis Mills.

Under constant pressure, Cutler made a key diving save after a Spartan throw-in at the 10 minute mark. But the Wildcats still struggled to keep the ball outside of the box.

“Every time they had the ball in the box, I saw our guys almost freezing like you’re gonna get it, you’re gonna get it, or you’re gonna get it,” Cervione said. “Nobody took charge in the box to clear it.”

Over the next 10 minutes, cards and fouls were abundant, but neither team was able to capitalize.

“I think there was some retaliation by both squads,” Cervione said. “Sometimes I think that they are worried that the ref missed the call, and the play is already moving on. And you can’t get it back. I tell these guys all the time: the ref is going to make bad calls, you’re never going to get it back.”

As the clock was winding down, McCall’s second goal went in. With only 10 seconds to operate, Suffield was unable to get a shot off, and the Spartans captured the title.

“So close. I wish that was us,” Cervione said. “We were up 2-1 and we really wanted to play more defensive-minded, and I think that we lacked a little bit in the back. They capitalized on our mistakes.”

Despite the mistakes, Cervione knew the team gave everything they had.

“I’m proud of these guys. It was a battle to get here, and I really wanted it for these guys. It had nothing to do with me,” Cervione said. “They’ve been great the whole season, I can’t fault them for today. It was a battle for both squads.”

After the game, Cervione gave one final pep talk.

“I told them it was my pleasure to be their coach,” Cervione said. “They’ve come a long way. I’m gonna miss my seniors. We had 10 of them. That was a huge part of our squad. But we have a lot of young kids coming up through the program.”

 

 

 

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