STONINGTON — Stonington High put together another outstanding fall sports season, with three teams combining for a 35-3-1 record.
The teams' collective success is the reason they are The Sun's No. 6 sports story of 2020.
The field hockey team, which has dominated the ECC for most of the past 35 years, finished 13-1, including a 1-0 victory against East Lyme in the regional title game. The girls soccer team, meanwhile, was 11-1-1 and also won its regional title game.
And the boys soccer team finished 11-1 and advanced to the regional title game, but was prevented from competing due to a positive COVID-19 test on the team.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the league did not have regular-season or tournament champions this season. And it did not award players any postseason honors. The CIAC did not conduct any state tournaments.
The field hockey team's only loss was to East Lyme, 1-0, on Oct. 3. Stonington played the Vikings three more times over the course of the season and captured wins all three times by a combined 5-0 margin.
Stonington, behind the play of backs Anne Drago and Sophia Fernholz, allowed just three goals and finished with 12 shutouts.
Since 1985, Stonington has won or shared the ECC title 31 times.
Ellie Korinek, Teagan O'Brien and Sandy McGugan were named Class S All-State. Korinek led the team in scoring with 15 goals and eight assists. O'Brien and McGugan excelled in the midfield.
After the season, the Bears were left to wonder how they would have fared in the Class S tournament.
"I think this team would have been dangerous," coach Jenna Tucchio. "We have a lot of weapons and a really great transition game. I think they felt they could have done well, so it's bittersweet. This team ranks right up there with the best teams I've coached."
The boys soccer team's one loss came against Fitch, 3-2, in overtime on Oct. 10. The defeat snapped a 24-game winning streak for the Bears, who won the Class M title in 2019.
Junior Sam Montalto moved to the top of the Stonington scoring list after scoring 25 goals in 12 games. Montalto has 69 career goals, surpassing the 63 scored by Joe Ponte, who graduated in 1989.
Montalto was ranked the No. 1 player in the ECC by the league's coaches and earned All-New England and Class M All-State honors.
Will Sawin finished with six goals and 10 assists.
This is the fourth season the Bears have produced an All-New England player. Tyler Fidrych received the honor in 2019, Jamison Magowan and R.J. Parrilla in 2018, and Cam Whalen in 2017.
Stonington is 68-5-3 over the last four seasons.
"We got 95 percent of our games in," coach Paul deCastro said. "We were disappointed not to play that game against Ledyard. We were happy to get the games we got in."
After losing to Bacon Academy, 2-1, on Oct. 21, the girls soccer team closed the season with six straight wins. The Bears beat Waterford, 1-0, in the regional finals after receiving a forfeit from East Lyme in the first round due to the pandemic.
Stonington outscored its opponents, 32-8, with four shutouts in its 13 matches.
Senior Vanessa Benjamin led the team in scoring with 15 goals and was second on the squad with four assists. She was a first-team Class M All-State selection.
Like the field hockey team, Bears girls soccer yearned for an opportunity to play in the state tournament.
"I think we could have definitely made a run in the state tournament. It's unfortunate," coach Jennifer Solomon said. "This was one of the best teams Stonington has had in a long time. But based on the circumstances, we were fortunate to play all our games.
"It's a tribute to the players that followed all the protocols the school district and Mr. Morrone (Stonington athletic director Bryan Morrone) had in place. The players were fantastic. We were a very talented team and it showed."