Glastonbury Shuts Out RHAM 1-0 to Win its First CCC Girls Soccer Championship

MIDDLETOWN-The Glastonbury girls soccer team has so much top-shelf talent that it is easy to overlook the valuable contributions of their role players at times. But just when you do so, they find a way to demonstrate their importance. In Wednesday’s CCC tournament final against RHAM, it was sophomore Madison Seymour’s turn to illustrate Glastonbury’s great depth.

After Seymour, who had been averaging fewer than 10 minutes a game, gave the top-seeded Tomahawks a spark in the first half off the bench, coach Joe Finocchiaro reinserted her at forward with 20 minutes remaining. Seymour rewarded Finocchiaro’s confidence, scoring with 17:38 left to give Glastonbury a 1-0 victory over the No. 3 Sachems.

“Madison was a big surprise. She really hasn’t given us many minutes, and today she played spectacular,” Finocchiaro said. “She offered a physical presence up top and good speed. After the first half we were like “we got to keep her in.””

The win gave Glastonbury (18-1) its first conference championship. The Tomahawks were upset by Middletown in last season’s semifinals.

“We talked a lot about losing here last year and remembering how it felt,” Finocchiaro said. “We didn’t want to leave the field the same way we did last time. I thought this was a great game to be a part of and hats off to RHAM because they also did a great job.”

The first half saw both defenses play well. The Sachems (16-3) struggled heavily to move the ball and create space. While the Glastonbury offense was able to move the ball, it failed to complete crucial passes and had shots altered by RHAM defenders.

“We talked at halftime about getting our body sideways with the defender and letting the ball kind of come across and getting that shot off early,” Finocchiaro said.

The pace picked up in the second half. During the opening minutes, Tomahawks striker Maddy Lamagna hit the near post and teammate Evelyn Spencer smacked the ball just wide of the far post. After a few quiet minutes, RHAM goalie Christina Folsom (13 saves) made two diving saves on shots by Mara Consentino and Seymour with roughly 19 minutes remaining.

Glastonbury continued to pressure the Sachems defense and finally broke through. With 17:38 remaining, Seymour gathered a ball inside the 18 and in one swift motion, turned and banged a shot past Folsom in the top right corner.

“I just turned and let it go,” Seymour said. “That’s what coach told me to do at halftime.”

Finocchiaro had moved Seymour up top after switching Lamagna from striker to midfield.

RHAM’s aggressiveness led to a few scoring opportunities in the final minutes. Jess Cascio missed on a shot with 2:20 remaining and with 35 seconds left on a free kick from roughly 25 yards out. With 1:30 remaining, Lexie Burgess engaged in a scrum for the ball with Tomahawks goalie Abbey Renaud (three saves) and lost. On the final kick, Cascio aimed the ball too high and over the frame.

“We didn’t play at the level we’ve been lately,” Sachems coach Melissa Kissane said. “We hit a really good team tonight, and made a couple mistakes that you can’t commit. Our defense and midfield weren’t playing as one and we were allowing too much space in the middle, and when you do that against good teams, they take up all that space and don’t allow you to drive the ball. We’re a possession team that builds from back to front, and we weren’t able to do that today.”

Both coaches said that the championship game was good preparation for state tournament play.

“This game will help going forward in terms of playing great competition, playing under the lights and in this atmosphere,” Finocchiaro said.

“This was a tough game, but it’s good to have this going into the state tournament,” Kissane said. “I’m really proud of these girls for getting here and putting up a great fight against a great program.”

The Tomahawks will compete in the Class LL tournaments and the Sachems in Class L. The teams will find out their final seed and game schedule Friday afternoon.

“I’m very confident in my team heading into states,” Finocchiaro said. “To get better, we’re going to work on our speed and focus on improving in transition and finishing on offense.”

“We’re getting back (senior midfielder and captain) Ashleigh Jepsen from injury, so that’s going to be huge. In practice, we’re going to continue focusing on being a possession team and playing as one,” Kissane said. “I’ve known from the begging that this group of girls had what it takes to be a state championship team.”


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