Thursday night saw Nassahegan Field in Burlington, CT host the Berkshire League’s best boys soccer rivalry – Lewis Mills v. Nonnewaug. Two teams that made deep runs in the Class M State Tournament in 2015, both with tough losses in the semi-finals, were back at it again. Each team entered the match at 8-0-0 with Nonnewaug yet to concede a goal.
Lewis Mills has come out on top of the conference the past few years, but Nonnewaug is right there nipping at their heels. Lewis Mills had heavier graduation losses with several players competing at the next level. The stage was set for a battle.
If you’ve never been to Nassahegan, you should make the time to take a trip. A beautiful grass field nestled in the hills of Northwestern Connecticut. A Lewis Mills v Nonnewaug game is a little bit of Friday Night Lights (on Thursday) meets the Sharks and the Jets. Two schools located a few miles apart with large fan sections making a ton of noise.
The game did not disappoint. Nonnewaug was a bit tentative out of the gate and Lewis Mills struck first with a goal in the opening eight minutes. Nonnewaug got their legs under them as the half progressed and Nonnewaug's Nathan Firlings, the best player on the field on the night, evened it up just 1:22 before the half.
As a bonus for the fans, the second half yielded no goals, so the match went to extra time before Firlings added the game winner in the first OT.
This is what high school soccer should be about. Great crowd support. Great competition. These Berkshire League teams have clearly earned my respect as teams to watch in the Class M title hunt. As for Nassahegan, it was my fourth trip to the park in the past two years. It will not be my last.