H.S. GIRLS SOCCER: Millis hands Hull heartbreak in South final again

A normal high sports final took a turn after a controversial non-goal followed by a goal for the winning team moments. The coach would be ejected, forcing me to have to think on my feet. After talked to the coach before, gave him a call after the game and was able to integrate his voice. The orginal version had video of the non-call but would be removed after the Hull soccer account made their tweets private

AS SEEN ON: https://www.patriotledger.com/sports/20191116/hs-girls-soccer-millis-hands-hull-heartbreak-in-south-final-again

The Pirates saw go-ahead goal come off the board late, which allowed Millis a chance to score the winner in the Div. 4 South Sectional final.

HOLBROOK — In 2018, the Hull High girls soccer team made it farther than it ever had to reach the sectional final.

The Pirates run was cut short when Millis scored a last-minute goal to go up 2-1, which held up for the final score. The Mohawks went on to win their second consecutive state title.

This year, the Pirates made it back to that same historic point. Standing in their way, the same Mohawk team that derailed them last year.

The Mohawks denied Hull again by the same 2-1 score on Saturday at Holbrook High in the Division 4 South Sectional final.

“It is almost like we hit the replay button from last year,” said Millis coach Steve Bailen. “We came out on top, we feel great and are looking forward to the (state) semi.”

This year’s match had some added controversy.

With five minutes on the clock, Hannah Duran took a corner kick for the Pirates that landed in the back of the net appearing to give Hull a 2-1 lead. The goal was overturned as Hull was called for fouling Millis goaltender Caileen Adams as the ball went in off the corner kick.

Amid the chaotic moment, the Mohawks kept it together.

“I am devastated for my team,” said Hull coach Stew Bell in a phone interview hours after the game. Bell was ejected after receiving his second yellow card of the day when Hull’s apparent second goal was taken off the board. “They deserved better. I have nothing against the Millis team, but we beat them tonight. I cannot be clearer about that. The refs stole this game from the girls. What happened tonight is wrong and I am heartbroken for my players, especially my seven seniors.”

“The way these girls played all year when we were up a goal or even down, keeping the composure, keeping the focus,” said Bailen. “We don’t get distracted by the stuff going on the field.”

Minutes later, the Mohawks took the ball down the other way. A shot from Abby Miller could not be handled by the Hull goalie and Courtney Bickford was there for the rebound goal.

“I was really shocked,” said Bickford. “At the moment, I was like wow (on the loose ball) and then I got it. It was really fun.”

The Pirates had some more chances on corners but failed to get the tiebreaker in a heartbreaking loss.

“We changed our formation and played a little bit more defense in the last couple of minutes,” said Bailen. ”(My players) did a great job. They were focused on it, they had been down this path before. They persevered.”

In the first half, the Pirates wasted no time taking the lead. All-time leading scorer Lauren Anastos, who has been marked the entire postseason, delivered a perfect ball to sophomore Nina Tiani. She hesitated before firing the ball in the back of the net to propel Hull to a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.

“What makes it more painful is we have seven seniors that really led the way. It was a goal of theirs to win the title. We had three pretty big injuries,” said Bell. “And the girls kept winning. They kept finding the ways to win.

“We were ready to play today and played the game that we needed to play to win. … I am still kind of in shock at what happened on that field tonight.”

After that, the Mohawks took over control of the play. Millis had six corners in the first half and mustered five shots. Despite the Pirates doing a good job on defense, coming up with multiple saves from defenders on the goal line, Millis converted in the 15th minute. Sydney Bailen, Steve’s daughter, took a perfectly-placed long shot from about the 20 yards out that Hull goalie Carly Donavan could not get a hand on.

The Pirates rebounded with valiant defense efforts to keep the game tied at 1 at halftime. Donavan registered four saves in the half.

The Mohawks had strong scoring chance near the 30th minute when Marissa Meli broke behind the Pirate defense, but her shot went wide of Donovan (11 saves total).

The Pirates registered the second shot of the half when Hannah Duran (three goals in the playoffs) made a nifty move to get around the Mohawk defense, but her shot landed right in the arms of Mohawk goalie Caileen Adams.

In the second half, it was more of the same as Millis had several corners finishing the game with 10 corners and 14 shots on net.

“We matched them speed for speed,” said Bailen. “We scouted Hull and knew they had some great speed down the middle and the wings. That being said we have some great speed back there. Our wing-back were fantastic and our center-back. I was not concerned with speed overall.”

Millis had another big chance in the 63rd minute when Grace Jewett rang a shot of the crossbar. Jordyn Ferrantino had a couple of shots saved by Donovan shortly after, including a free kick.

Anastos had an opportunity in the 73rd minute on a missile after using her body to create space but it was saved by Adams (three saves).

“It is incredible. That is insane to do twice,” said Bickford.

The Mohawks advance to the state semifinals to play Manchester-Essex or Amesbury.

“The team worked so hard to make it happen,” said Bell, “to have it end like this, is not right. It does not sit well.”

 Matt Cunha can be reached at mcunha@patriotledger.com. Follow him on Twitter @CunhaMatthew.

“It is almost like we hit the replay button from last year,” said Millis coach Steve Bailen. “We came out on top, we feel great and are looking forward to the (state) semi.”

This year’s match had some added controversy.

With five minutes on the clock, Hannah Duran took a corner kick for the Pirates that landed in the back of the net appearing to give Hull a 2-1 lead. The goal was overturned as Hull was called for fouling Millis goaltender Caileen Adams as the ball went in off the corner kick.

Amid the chaotic moment, the Mohawks kept it together.

“I am devastated for my team,” said Hull coach Stew Bell in a phone interview hours after the game. Bell was ejected after receiving his second yellow card of the day when Hull’s apparent second goal was taken off the board. “They deserved better. I have nothing against the Millis team, but we beat them tonight. I cannot be clearer about that. The refs stole this game from the girls. What happened tonight is wrong and I am heartbroken for my players, especially my seven seniors.”

“The way these girls played all year when we were up a goal or even down, keeping the composure, keeping the focus,” said Bailen. “We don’t get distracted by the stuff going on the field.”

Minutes later, the Mohawks took the ball down the other way. A shot from Abby Miller could not be handled by the Hull goalie and Courtney Bickford was there for the rebound goal.

“I was really shocked,” said Bickford. “At the moment, I was like wow (on the loose ball) and then I got it. It was really fun.”

The Pirates had some more chances on corners but failed to get the tiebreaker in a heartbreaking loss.

“We changed our formation and played a little bit more defense in the last couple of minutes,” said Bailen. ”(My players) did a great job. They were focused on it, they had been down this path before. They persevered.”

In the first half, the Pirates wasted no time taking the lead. All-time leading scorer Lauren Anastos, who has been marked the entire postseason, delivered a perfect ball to sophomore Nina Tiani. She hesitated before firing the ball in the back of the net to propel Hull to a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.

“What makes it more painful is we have seven seniors that really led the way. It was a goal of theirs to win the title. We had three pretty big injuries,” said Bell. “And the girls kept winning. They kept finding the ways to win.

“We were ready to play today and played the game that we needed to play to win. … I am still kind of in shock at what happened on that field tonight.”

After that, the Mohawks took over control of the play. Millis had six corners in the first half and mustered five shots. Despite the Pirates doing a good job on defense, coming up with multiple saves from defenders on the goal line, Millis converted in the 15th minute. Sydney Bailen, Steve’s daughter, took a perfectly-placed long shot from about the 20 yards out that Hull goalie Carly Donavan could not get a hand on.

The Pirates rebounded with valiant defense efforts to keep the game tied at 1 at halftime. Donavan registered four saves in the half.

The Mohawks had strong scoring chance near the 30th minute when Marissa Meli broke behind the Pirate defense, but her shot went wide of Donovan (11 saves total).

The Pirates registered the second shot of the half when Hannah Duran (three goals in the playoffs) made a nifty move to get around the Mohawk defense, but her shot landed right in the arms of Mohawk goalie Caileen Adams.

In the second half, it was more of the same as Millis had several corners finishing the game with 10 corners and 14 shots on net.

“We matched them speed for speed,” said Bailen. “We scouted Hull and knew they had some great speed down the middle and the wings. That being said we have some great speed back there. Our wing-back were fantastic and our center-back. I was not concerned with speed overall.”

Millis had another big chance in the 63rd minute when Grace Jewett rang a shot of the crossbar. Jordyn Ferrantino had a couple of shots saved by Donovan shortly after, including a free kick.

Anastos had an opportunity in the 73rd minute on a missile after using her body to create space but it was saved by Adams (three saves).

“It is incredible. That is insane to do twice,” said Bickford.

The Mohawks advance to the state semifinals to play Manchester-Essex or Amesbury.

“The team worked so hard to make it happen,” said Bell, “to have it end like this, is not right. It does not sit well.”

Matt Cunha can be reached at mcunha@patriotledger.com. Follow him on Twitter @CunhaMatthew.

“It is almost like we hit the replay button from last year,” said Millis coach Steve Bailen. “We came out on top, we feel great and are looking forward to the (state) semi.”

This year’s match had some added controversy.

With five minutes on the clock, Hannah Duran took a corner kick for the Pirates that landed in the back of the net appearing to give Hull a 2-1 lead. The goal was overturned as Hull was called for fouling Millis goaltender Caileen Adams as the ball went in off the corner kick.

Amid the chaotic moment, the Mohawks kept it together.

“I am devastated for my team,” said Hull coach Stew Bell in a phone interview hours after the game. Bell was ejected after receiving his second yellow card of the day when Hull’s apparent second goal was taken off the board. “They deserved better. I have nothing against the Millis team, but we beat them tonight. I cannot be clearer about that. The refs stole this game from the girls. What happened tonight is wrong and I am heartbroken for my players, especially my seven seniors.”

“The way these girls played all year when we were up a goal or even down, keeping the composure, keeping the focus,” said Bailen. “We don’t get distracted by the stuff going on the field.”

Minutes later, the Mohawks took the ball down the other way. A shot from Abby Miller could not be handled by the Hull goalie and Courtney Bickford was there for the rebound goal.

“I was really shocked,” said Bickford. “At the moment, I was like wow (on the loose ball) and then I got it. It was really fun.”

The Pirates had some more chances on corners but failed to get the tiebreaker in a heartbreaking loss.

“We changed our formation and played a little bit more defense in the last couple of minutes,” said Bailen. ”(My players) did a great job. They were focused on it, they had been down this path before. They persevered.”

In the first half, the Pirates wasted no time taking the lead. All-time leading scorer Lauren Anastos, who has been marked the entire postseason, delivered a perfect ball to sophomore Nina Tiani. She hesitated before firing the ball in the back of the net to propel Hull to a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.

“What makes it more painful is we have seven seniors that really led the way. It was a goal of theirs to win the title. We had three pretty big injuries,” said Bell. “And the girls kept winning. They kept finding the ways to win.

“We were ready to play today and played the game that we needed to play to win. … I am still kind of in shock at what happened on that field tonight.”

After that, the Mohawks took over control of the play. Millis had six corners in the first half and mustered five shots. Despite the Pirates doing a good job on defense, coming up with multiple saves from defenders on the goal line, Millis converted in the 15th minute. Sydney Bailen, Steve’s daughter, took a perfectly-placed long shot from about the 20 yards out that Hull goalie Carly Donavan could not get a hand on.

The Pirates rebounded with valiant defense efforts to keep the game tied at 1 at halftime. Donavan registered four saves in the half.

The Mohawks had strong scoring chance near the 30th minute when Marissa Meli broke behind the Pirate defense, but her shot went wide of Donovan (11 saves total).

The Pirates registered the second shot of the half when Hannah Duran (three goals in the playoffs) made a nifty move to get around the Mohawk defense, but her shot landed right in the arms of Mohawk goalie Caileen Adams.

In the second half, it was more of the same as Millis had several corners finishing the game with 10 corners and 14 shots on net.

“We matched them speed for speed,” said Bailen. “We scouted Hull and knew they had some great speed down the middle and the wings. That being said we have some great speed back there. Our wing-back were fantastic and our center-back. I was not concerned with speed overall.”

Millis had another big chance in the 63rd minute when Grace Jewett rang a shot of the crossbar. Jordyn Ferrantino had a couple of shots saved by Donovan shortly after, including a free kick.

Anastos had an opportunity in the 73rd minute on a missile after using her body to create space but it was saved by Adams (three saves).

“It is incredible. That is insane to do twice,” said Bickford.

The Mohawks advance to the state semifinals to play Manchester-Essex or Amesbury.

“The team worked so hard to make it happen,” said Bell, “to have it end like this, is not right. It does not sit well.”

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