Tolland boys soccer exceeds expectations

Few expected the Tolland Eagles to finish second in the CCC and qualify for the first ever CCC Boy’s Soccer Tournament, but they were able to do just that with a win and a Rocky Hill loss at the end of the regular season.

The Eagles (12-5-0) were able to secure a seven seed in the Class M State Tournament, but were upset in the first round by a very strong Granby team in a thrilling 3-2 loss.

Tyson Bridge (13 goals) and Alex Weekes (9 goals, 7 assists) powered the offense while Bryan Gilbert and Ryan Wallert anchored the defense.

Joe Giangregorio had a fantastic season for the Eagles and proved to be the team’s most versatile player.

Tolland will lose ten seniors, six of whom were starters, but will return twelve players with significant varsity experience and could have another productive year.

“We are looking for great things in 2014,” Eagles head coach Jim Leahy said of next year’s expectations.

South Windsor

The South Windsor Bobcats finished this year’s campaign with a record of 5-9-2, coming up just shy of a State Tournament berth.

The Bobcats lost six games by one goal this year, and needed a win and at least a tie in their final two games to qualify for the tournament.

South Windsor earned the win in a great game against Windsor, and led for seventy-minutes in their final game against East Hartford.  With seven minutes left in their final game, the Bobcats gave up a goal to East Hartford that cost them the game and left them one goal and one point short of qualifying for the tournament.

“The team always worked hard, always stuck together, and never gave less than their best effort for 16 games and over 40 practices,” head coach Dave St. Jean said of his team’s effort this season.

South Windsor will return six starters and most of their bench, but will lose standouts Mike Tarascio, Noah Kennedy, and Curtis Bolduc.

Rockville

Last season, the Rams were 0-16.   This season Rockville started the year 1-8, but was able to go 3-4 in their final seven games to finish with a record of 4-12-0.

In his first year as head coach of the Rams, Nick Cody saw much improvement in his inexperienced team.

Despite a lack of depth, the Rams demonstrated a strong competitive spirit throughout the season.

A bright spot for Rockville this season was the play of junior midfielder Shaun Monaghan who led the way offensively for the Rams.  Monaghan will return next season along with a promising crop of midfielders and forwards.

Rockville’s wins this season came against Hartford Public (twice), Fermi, and a forfeit victory over Bloomfield.  Rockville finished in the bottom third of the CCC, but looks to make further strides next year.

The Avon Falcons ended a successful campaign with a hard-fought second round loss to Farmington in the Class L State Tournament.

The Falcons (14-4, 13-3 NCCC) scored 78 goals, the fourth most in school history, while allowing only 10 (tied for the fifth best mark in school history).

Bobby Zaino led Avon’s powerful offense with 25 goals, the fourth highest-single season total in school history.  Riley Strassner (14 goals, 15 assists) and Sean Janson (12 goals) also provided firepower for the Falcons.

The Falcons’ defense put together twelve shutouts led by Stephen Dorney, Jared Rosenblatt, and Kevin Brown.  Former field player, Marcus Husted, unselfishly filled a void as starting goalkeeper and became an asset by season’s end.  Avon will lose five graduating seniors, but the returning varsity group is young, with five current juniors and six current sophomores.

Canton

Things did not look great for the Canton Warriors halfway through the 2013 season.

Canton struggled in the middle of the year with a six game losing streak but was able to rally and go 5-2 to end the season.

The Warriors final record of 7-9-0 was enough to finish eighth in the NCCC and earn them a 19 seed in the Class S State Tournament.  In the tournament, Canton started off strong, beating 14 Hale-Ray 2-1 in the first round in an overtime match on the road.

The Warriors would lose in the second round to 3 Valley Regional 9-2 to end their postseason run, and end the season with an overall record of 8-10-0.

Head coach Bill Phelps lost twelve graduating players from last year’s team, but this year’s Warriors team made in-season adjustments to overcome their inexperience and finish the season strong.  Phelps will lose senior leaders Lucas Rich and Justin Fortier, but will return key players in sophomore Rieley Hoffman and junior Tanner Clarke.

Simsbury

The Simsbury Trojans had high hopes coming into the 2013 season.  The Trojans returned twelve starters from last season’s team that finished 12-5-1, but struggled to get their offense going this season.

Simsbury finished the year 5-5-6, enough to earn them a 25 seed in the Class LL State Tournament.

The Trojans lost in the first round of the tournament to 8 Amity by a score of 2-0.

The most telling statistic of the Trojans season has to be the six ties, three of which were by a score of 0-0.  Scoring just one goal in those three games could have drastically changed the Trojans’ fortunes.

Head coach Ed Lynch gives a lot of credit to his defense for keeping his Trojans in games in a tough CCC West conference.

The defense was able to allow only 23 goals, but unfortunately the offense was only able to string together 18 goals all season.  Simsbury, who finished in the middle of the CCC, will lose versatile seniors Mason Burr and Keegan Rice.

The WIndsor Locks boys soccer team (7-7-3) earned a seventeen seed, their highest seeding in five years, in this year’s Class S State Tournament, but lost to 16 Wamogo 4-2 in the first round.

All NCCC Defensive Back Ryan Wilson lead the Raiders much improved defense.  In 2011, Locks had a -42 goal differential.

Last year it was -10, and this year +13 due in large part to the defense’s ability to stop attacks.

Wilson, a junior, will return next season with fellow defensive anchors Glenn Smith and Reed Lynch.  The Raiders will also return their top scorers Mike Smalley and Kenan Omerbasic.

Unfortunately, Windsor Locks will lose nine seniors including captains Jonathan Oliveira, Tyler Labbe, and Nick Russo.

“The boys have completely adapted to a new style of play which improved their fitness, skill, and teamwork,” head coach Daniel Eckert said of his team.  “The boys won or tied all of the games they should have won or tied, and other than one blow out, competed well against some of the division power houses.”

East Windsor

The East Windsor Panthers showed significant improvement from last season’s 2-13-1 season.  The Panthers went 5-10-1 this year, and looked ready to qualify for the Class S State Tournament for the first time in nearly a decade by mid-season.

Unfortunately, East Windsor was not able to muster enough points to qualify for the tournament this year, but will return freshman Jack Pelley to lead next season’s campaign.

The Panthers, under the direction of head coach Mike Mosher, had big wins this season over Canton and Somers, two teams that qualified for the tournament. The team will lose senior offensive contributors Kevin Mocadlo and Adam Fisher, and goalkeeper Bryan Perron.

Somers

The Somers Spartans started off the season hot, winning their first five games, but then cooled down, largely due to costly injuries.

The Spartans were 12-4-0 in the regular season, finishing fourth in the NCCC.  Somers was an eight-seed in the Class S State Tournament and earned a first round bye before falling to 9 Old Lyme 3-1 at home.

Led by head coach Rick Kelley, the Spartans were able to defeat Canton twice and hand Avon one of its three losses on the season.  Somers will lose their most consistent goal scorers seniors Brian Rossini, Austin Ficara, and Brandon Scanlon, but will return Nicholas Murzda, who missed a part of this year’s season due to injury, John Poitras, Michael Ryan, and Corey Brown.

Enfield

The Enfield Raiders had a disappointing, injury-plagued season this year.  Enfield finished with a record of 3-12-1, beating SMSA twice and East Granby.

The Raiders were close in games, however, losing six games by a frustrating one-goal margin.

Enfield’s offense had difficulty establishing a rhythm in a challenging NCCC schedule.  The Raiders were only able to score 20 goals in 16 games.

The defense played well for the most part, but Enfield’s lack of depth and strong offensive opponents proved often to be too much for the Raiders to handle.  On the bright side, head coach John Mancuso will return his most reliable scorer, Anthony Romei, next season.

Fermi

After a disappointing 0-5-1 start, the Fermi Falcons turned their season around and ended up finishing 5-9-2, bringing them close, but not close enough, to qualifying for the Class L State Tournament.

The Falcons were incredibly young and inexperienced, as this year’s squad featured eighteen new players.

Head coach Jim Russell said this year was about his young team learning to compete and play as a singular unit, something Fermi was able to do after overcoming their slow start. Fermi will lose senior Zack Isabelle.  The highlight of Fermi’s season was a big win over a tough Rocky Hill team.

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