Area girls soccer teams make tourney runs

The South WIndsor Bobcats girls soccer team came very close to getting over the hump and advancing deep into the Class LL tournament, but South Windsor lost a 2-1 heartbreaker to No. 2 seed, Glastonbury in the quarterfinals of the Class LL tournament after losing 6-4 in penalty kicks.

It was the second straight year the Bobcats (11-4-1) bowed out in the quarterfinals. Last season, they lost to eventual champion Newtown.

Kat Comeau scored the lone goal for South Windsor.

Coach Ed Duclos described the feeling the team had after the loss.

“It was heartbreaking. You play with them for 100 minutes. They scored at the 45 minute mark. Take them to PK, tied up in the first wave. It was as close as you can get. In our hearts we knew it was the year [we could get past Glastonbury].”

The loss didn’t diminish a successful season as the Bobcats finished 11-4-1 overall and 11-2-1 in the division. In the first round they defeated No. 23 West Haven, 3-0. Comeau scored two goals in that game. In their second round matchup, No. 26 Greenwich took the Bobcats to overtime, but Danielle Karpiej scored with 4:42 left in the first overtime, putting the Bobcats in the quarterfinals.

As with every successful season, teams lose valuable senior leadership each year. In this case, the Bobcats will lose the likes of Auna Harvey, Comeau and Rebecca Karlins.

“Our seniors have been amazing,” Duclos said. “So much of our success is tied to them. As a group they will be difficult to replace. The future looks very bright. It is one thing you learned. You  know those players aren’t going to be back. You never know who will step up in 2014.”

Tolland

The Tolland girls soccer team had another impressive run in the Class M tournament before bowing out in the semifinals as the No. 2 seed in a 2-1 loss to No. 3 Waterford in MIddletown.

Melissa Azinheira scored early on in the match to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead early on, but were unable to muster anything else after that. Melina Spanos scored Waterford’s two goals in the match.

All was not lost on the season as the Eagles finished in second place in the CCC East behind RHAM with a 12-2-2 overall record and a 11-2-1 in the division.

The Eagles received a first round bye in the tournament before defeating No. 15 Granby, 3-1 in the second round.  In the quarterfinals Tolland faced a tough Lyman Memorial, who was seeded 10th. The game was scoreless through regulation, but Bailey Elliot scored four minutes into overtime to give the Eagles the 1-0 win.

The team does return a bunch of players next season, such as Elliot, so another deep run in the tournament isn’t out of the question.

Ellington

The Knights finished fourth in a loaded NCCC this season, which was good enough for a No. 7 seed in the CIAC Class M tournament. Ellington looked poised to at least get back to the quarterfinals again, especially after a 3-0 win over No. 26 Wolcott in the first round of the tournament. In that game Olivia Kosilla, Samantha Anthony and Emma Johnson each scored for the Knights.

The second round proved to be a tougher match than anticipated as Lyman Memorial stunned the Knights in Ellington on Nov. 7th after giving up two second half goals to Jordyn Guerra and Annie Devito.

Rockville

A young Rams team was able to put together two wins during Marek Przybylek’s first season as head coach. Both wins for the Rams came against Hartford Public: a 10-1 win on September 20th, and a 5-0 win on October 15th.

The team finished 2-13 on the season, but is sure to do much better next season with a year under the young team’s belt.

After a run of four straight finals appearances, the No. 5 seed Avon Falcons did not make a return trip to the CIAC championship, dropping a 3-1 decision in the quarterfinals to No. 4 Guilford.

It was a strange feeling for coach Jim Murray.

“It is kind of a weird feeling. You make that advancement so far for a few years. The girls were pretty upset,” Murray said.

Guilford proved to be a tough task for the Falcons.

“We really had to play a flawless game to beat them,” Jim Murray. “They were able to get balls deep,” Murray said They were able to get scoring opportunities and corner kicks,” Murray said. “They scored on a corner.”

The Falcons, who are back to back Class L champions, defeated Sacred Heart Academy in the second round after receiving a first round bye. In that game Michaela Marcus scored in the 71st minute for the game winner. Hannah Davey also scored for the Falcons. In the game against Guilford, Marcus scored the lone goal.

Murray expects Marcus to continue her midfield dominance next season.

The team will be losing key defensive players in Paige Hammock and Youn Jae Baek, which will be tough shoes to fill.

“Those girls will be hard to replace,” Murray said. “Quite a core in the back for us. Part of our preseason objective is to gain back defensive core.“

Simsbury

Simsbury pulled off a stunning upset in the Class LL tournament as a No. 21 seed, defeating No. 12 Darien, 2-0 in the first round thanks to two goals from star Sydney Shudginis, who finished the season with 14 goals on the season.

Up next was defending Class M champion and No. 5 Northwest Catholic. After the teams played a close game the first 15 minutes, Northwest Catholic pulled away for a 4-0 win.

Coach Jim Bayer said the first two goals changed the confidence of the team. “[Northwest Catholic] is a good team. Against good teams, you can’t make mistakes.

Overall, Bayer was pleased with his team’s season.

“We got better as the year went on. Our second half was stronger. The first half [of the season] we had trouble scoring. The second half we put it together and started to connect. We gave up 15 goals in 18 games.”

In order to build on the 2013 season, the Trojans will have to replace Shudginis and two centerbacks, but they do return 15 underclassmen with experience. “We have a really strong group coming back,” Bayer said. “Maybe next year we will take another step forward.”

Farmington

The Indians had looked to make a run in the Class L tournament after a 9-2-5 record during the regular season carrying a lot of momentum after shutting out East Catholic on the road, 5-0 on October 24th. The Indians, as the No. 13 seed, continued their momentum in the first round of the tournament, defeating Masuk, 3-0 in the first round after Brittany Galske, Nicole DiTommaso and Olivia Devoe each scored.

Their run would end earlier than they had liked, dropping a 3-1 decision to eventual finals participant and SCC champion Guilford in the second round.

Canton

The Warriors just missed out on making the CIAC tournament, finishing with a 5-11 record, one win short of qualifying for a spot. Canton had two wins this season over SMSA and East Granby and a win over Stafford.

The Warriors had a chance to get into the tournament if they won two of their final four games, but had a tough close to the season with Suffield, Coventry, and Somers on the schedule, all CIAC tournament qualifiers.

They lost 7-0, 3-0 and 3-1, respectively before closing out with a win in their final game against SMSA.

Glastonbury

It is an unfamiliar finish to the season for the Glastonbury’s girls soccer team. After making back-to-back Class LL championship games, including winning the 2011 title, the Tomahawks – as the No. 2 seed – dropped a 2-0 match to St. Joseph in the semifinals in West Haven on Nov. 11.

The game was scoreless at halftime and looked to be another shutout for senior Ciara Boucher, but Jenna Bike – one of the top players in the state – was able to respond.

After receiving a pass from Cori Scales, Bike chipped one in past Boucher to give the Cadets a 1-0 lead with 28:03 left in the match.

“She was able to find a way in behind our defense,” Glastonbury coach Joe Finocchiaro told The Sports Department after the game.

Lindsey Savko tacked on another one off of a corner with 19:34 left to make it a 2-0 game, leaving it to be an uphill battle for the Tomahawks.

The Cadets tough defense made it a problem for the Tomahawks all night and never really got a good opportunity until about 10 minutes left in the game when Madeline Gray’s shot went off the crossbar

After the game, coach Finocchiaro told The Sports Department “We ran out of luck at the end.  If you look at the first two matches, it was kind of similar.”

The second round of the tournament, after receiving a first round bye, the Tomahawks defeated the No. 15 seed Fairfield Warde, 1-0 after defeating them 3-1 in PKs.

The second round against No. 10 South Windsor was the same story, but five kicks couldn’t settle the match. However, the Tomahawks pulled out the 2-1 victory after outscoring South Windsor 6-4 in penalty kicks.

Boucher was phenomenal in goal all season, as she only gave up seven goals all season, and had eight saves in her final game as a Tomahawk.

“She has been extremely important,” Finocchiaro said of his senior goalkeeper.  “It’s going to be difficult to replace her leadership as a captain.”

On top of losing Boucher, Glastonbury will lose Sydney Keane, Jillian Ramsey, Audrey Spencer, and Eren Cosgel, but they will keep a solid core going into the 2014 campaign.

Fermi

The Fermi girls soccer team snuck in as the 26th and final seed in the Class L tournament with a regular season record of 6-9-1. With the team’s back against the wall, the Falcons were able to dispose of both Rockville (1-0) and Hartford Public (4-0) to clinch a spot when prospects looked dim.

Coach Matt Hay said the right thing to his players before the final two games.

“The players knew the challenge of our schedule and tough opponents we faced. I focused on the parts of those losses that were positive,” Hay said. “There were 6-10 minute stretches of those games that we were the better team. I stressed those aspects and the need for heart and desire. All the players shared the same goal of making the tournament and simply went out to get the job done.”

The Falcons did drop the first round match to Westbrook, 6-0, eliminating them from the tournament.

“While I am slightly disappointed in our tournament result,” Hay said. “I am extremely happy with the season, and definitely consider it a success. A few facts to back this up are: the girls adapted to a new coach and a new system and challenged the top teams in the CCC we gained invaluable experience from playing them. And about 8-9 of my starters this season got little to no varsity time last season, including starting 6 sophomores.  There was a steep learning curve and my players were up to the challenge.”

The team will lose Ashley and Kaley Kennedy, Hannah Raftery and Kristen Tolo. Hay said their contributions were invaluable, but is happy that 90% of his starting lineup will be returning.

Somers

Somers suffered a heartbreaking defeat to end its season in the first round of the Class S tournament as Shelbie Carr of Windsor Locks scored six seconds left in regulation to stun the Spartans.

“I could not be any happier than how the kids played,” Pantousco told The Sports Department after the game. “We had 12 seniors play in the game and every single one of them played as hard as they can play. I never have any doubt that they gave everything they have. I couldn’t be prouder.”

During the season, the Spartans finished 7-6-3, with a win and a tie against a tough Canton team, a win against NCCC and tournament team, Enfield, and a tie against tournament-bound Granby.

Windsor Locks

The Windsor Locks Raiders may have had the most exciting win in the entire girls soccer tournament in the first round of the Class S matchup against Somers as Shelbie Carr took the ball down field after a pass from Carley Hoynoski and scored with six seconds left to give Windsor Locks a 1-0 win.

After the game, Jim O’Brien told The Sports Department “It was a brilliant goal. It was an absolute bomb. There’s no chance that keeper could stop it. It was upper left, perfect.”

The Raiders momentum was stopped however in the second round against No. 3 Coginchaug as they fell behind 2-0 in the first half before eventually losing 3-1. Carr had the lone goal for Windsor Locks.

Enfield

The Raiders had a tough end to a solid season. as they lost 2-1 to No. 13 Valley Regional in the first round of the Class M tournament on Nov. 4. Enfield was seeded 20th.

After falling behind 1-0, Rachel Bearse scored to tie the game in the second half, but Jill Cayer’s goal in overtime sent the Raiders home. Shayenne Gonzalez was solid in net as she had seen saves on the day.

The Raiders rebounded from a slow 1-3 start to begin the season, but started to gain traction after a win over Coventry and started their run of winning five of six games. the five wins helped propel them into the Class M tournament.

Stafford

Stafford had a 2-13-1 record in Rachel Caneen’s first season. The Bulldogs had wins over East Windsor (2-0) and SMSA (6-0). They were outscored 57-13 on the season.

The team was young this season, with 11 sophomores on the team, so a year under their belt should prove well for them in the long term.

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