Waterford falls to Woodstock again

Melina Spanos of Waterford (17) beats Woodstock's Brooklyn Saracina to the ball during Wednesday's ECC girls' soccer tournament semifinal at Montville. Spanos scored but Woodstock won 2-1.

Montville - Waterford coach Rob Brule called it the most disappointed he's been a long time.

It wasn't just because the third-seeded Lancers lost a 2-1 heart-breaker to No. 2 Woodstock Academy in the semifinals of the Eastern Connecticut Conference girls' soccer tournament at Montville High School on Wednesday night, but due to the last week's events as a whole.

Waterford, the ECC Medium Division champ, lost to Large Division winner Woodstock 3-2 Saturday in its final regular-season game before the tournament started.

"We had the opportunity to fix it and there's no excuses why we couldn't," Brule said of the second straight defeat to the Centaurs. "We have a chance to do something different by next Wednesday (when the Class M state tournament starts). Today, you have to say the better, stronger, faster team won."

Woodstock advanced to the championship game to face defending champion East Lyme, the No. 5 seed. East Lyme edged St. Bernard 2-1 in the night's other semifinal at Stonington

Waterford (13-3-2), meanwhile, led 1-0 at halftime on a goal by Melina Spanos with 13 minutes, 55 seconds remaining. Alone in front of the goal with Woodstock goalie Annabel Shackett, Spanos shot from the left side to the far post to put the Lancers in front.

At halftime, Brule said the discussion centered around "defending harder, defending better."

But the half no sooner started than Woodstock star Emily Becher ran end to end with the ball to set up a corner kick, then a direct kick, with the Centaurs manhandling the Lancers for the first five minutes of the half.

Woodstock was thwarted from scoring only by a defensive clear from Waterford's Summer Wyatt. But the Centaurs refused to relent, either, and with 15:09 remaining, a long throw-in from the left side by Colleen Tupliff bounced around in front of the goal long enough for Elaina Becher to put the tying goal high in the net past Waterford freshman goalie Jordan Kovacs.

Elizabeth Redfield scored the game-winner for Woodstock with 3:36 to go on a ball which caromed off Kovacs and the game ended with the ball still in the Centaurs' end.

"They came out hard, they came out firing," said sophomore forward Claire Hurley of the dominance Woodstock showed in the second half. "We have to learn to step up more, to fight back.

" It's disappointing because we wanted redemption from last year so bad (championship loss to East Lyme). And for the seniors, we wanted this back. To have it taken from us, we're so upset. But it's no one's fault. As a team, we take the loss. We were trying the best we could, we wanted to be there for each other, but they were pushing us back so far."

Woodstock outshot Waterford 14-9.



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