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    Sunday, September 25, 2022

    Lyman Memorial girls, a year older and wiser, are off to flying start

    Montville’s Maddie O’Donnell (19) defends Lyman Memorial’s Emily McKelvey (27) during Monday night’s girls’ soccer game at Montville. Lyman improved to 3-0 with a 1-0 victory. (Sarah Gordon / The Day)
    Montville’s Lily Tomczik (16) and Lyman Memorial’s Leah Comeroski (5) battle inthe air during Monday’s girls’ soccer game at Montville. (Sarah Gordon / The Day)
    Montville’s Kate Bowman (8) moves past Lyman Memorial’s Avery Volle (9) during a Monday’s girls’ soccer match in Montville. (Sarah Gordon / The Day)

    Montville — Last season, Lyman Memorial played in the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division II tournament final and the Class S state tournament, reaching the quarterfinals, with six freshmen and 10 sophomores listed on its postseason roster.

    “I think we had the (numbers), but it was young kids,” Lyman coach Mark Morello said. “They kind of maybe saw what it was all about.”

    Bolstered by that experience, Lyman has started the new season 3-0, including Monday night’s 1-0 victory over Montville in a nondivisional ECC matchup.

    The team has just two seniors, midfielder Magda Carpenter and forward Leah Comeroski, a duo which Morello, in his 34th season, calls the glue, especially in light of a few early-season injuries.

    On Monday, Comeroski scored the game’s only goal with 15 minutes, 11 seconds remaining in the second half. A free kick by Lyman’s Maddie Archer bounced around in front of the goal until Comeroski secured it and popped it into the goal.

    Lyman had the bulk of the opportunities in the second half, starting with freshman Emily McKelvey firing a ball off the right post just 50 seconds into the half. A few minutes later, the Bulldogs hit a ball that bounced off Montville goalie Katie Myjak (6 saves) and off the crossbar.

    It was the opening game for Montville, which graduated three All-ECC honorees and has a number of young players on its roster, as well.

    “I almost missed that, too. That was scary,” Comeroski said of the goal. “We came into this game, we are pretty evenly matched so we were ready for a fight.

    “... Everyone just has their position now and has it down. Over the summer we did a lot of captains’ practices. We had good numbers. The underclassmen are really stepping up, so I think we’re definitely ready mentally and physically.”

    Lyman sophomore Phoebe Carpenter (3 saves) replaces All-ECC Division IV goalie Morgan Tartaglia.

    “She was amazing. She is amazing,” Comeroski said of Phoebe Carpenter. “She saves our team a lot.”

    Morello said that with a handful of players who have missed the opening part of the season with injuries, everyone on the team played several different positions throughout Monday’s game — “I’m just kind of mixing and matching the rotation,” he said. And Morello said that a great deal of the team’s will to win has come from Magda Carpenter and Comeroski.

    Comeroski is one of the ECC’s top 200-meter runners and long jumpers, finishing third in the Class S state track and field championship in the long jump. She is 4-foot-11, but certainly quicker than most.

    “Leah was phenomenal, especially in the second half,” Morello said. “She flies. She’s just an absolute terror. She does not back off anything. ... If we just keep maturing ... we’ve got to be ready to go at the end of the season.”

    Montville competes in Division III of the ECC, while Lyman is the defending champ in Division IV.

    Montville coach April Parady-Walter was pleased with her team’s effort in just its first game.

    “This was our opening day,” Parady-Walter said, “our chance to iron out some things. We have a really young team. Kudos to Mark. He runs a great program. We joke around about how we don’t have a lot of numbers these days, but what he does do with the girls is fantastic. They definitely outplayed us during the second half, unfortunately.”

    v.fulkerson@theday.com

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