Shepaug girls soccer grows into playoff team
The Shepaug girls soccer team finished the season playing its best and was able to make a run to the postseason and set up a bright future.
Shepaug went 8-8 during the regular season and finished on a high note, winning four of its final five games. Each of the four closing victories came via shutout.
After a 3-0 loss to Litchfield on Oct. 12, Shepaug was 4-7 and in danger of missing the tournament. A 3-0 victory over Thomaston was the start of a three-game win streak and after a loss to Northwestern, the Spartans closed out the regular season with a 5-0 blanking of Wamogo.
“The team improved tremendously this season,” said Shepaug coach Tara Flaherty. “The girls greatly improved on last year’s record, qualifying for the state tournament. The team is graduating three seniors and will be looking to improve upon the overall record next year.”
The Spartans earned the No. 17 seed in the CIAC Class S Tournament and traveled to take on No. 16 Bolton in a first-round matchup. Bolton prevailed, 3-2 (2-0 in PK’s), in a hard fought match.
Shepaug had a 1-0 lead in the game and Bolton tied it and then scored first in overtime to take a 2-1 lead. The Spartans stayed composed, tying the game in the final nine seconds of overtime to send the game to penalty kicks.
“The team played well in the state game, losing after being tied at the end of overtime, in penalty kicks to Bolton,” Flaherty said. “Bolton scored first in overtime and the girls did not give up. They maintained their intensity and were able to send the game into penalty kicks.”
The Spartans’ five shooters and goalkeeper were mostly sophomores and freshman against all seniors from Bolton. The experience should pay off down the road.
“We have a lot of room to grow and continue to strive to do better each season,” Flaherty said. “The program is heading in a positive direction. We continue to grow our team and hope to be able to field a full JV team again next year which will feed into our varsity team.”
Flaherty said Olivia Tibbatts and Sofia Mancinone were named Second Team All Berkshire League. Both girls are juniors and will be returning next year. Eilish Crossley had an outstanding freshman season and seniors, Lilly Keefe, Avery Serra, and Cassidy Borger, stepped up to lead the team to states.