Somers ties for title

By Tim Jensen,

NEW BRITAIN — There were plenty of obstacles for the  Somers High boys soccer team on the way to securing a share of the Class S state championship Saturday at Willow Brook Park.

In fact, the top-seeded Spartans nearly left empty-handed . But after 110 minutes of play which included two overtimes against No. 7 seed East Hampton, Somers got what it came for  – another state championship. The Spartans tied East Hampton 0-0 and the teams were declared Class S co-champions.

“This obviously wasn’t what we had in mind when we set our preseason goals, but it’s better than a loss,” Somers head coach Rick Kelley said.

With a couple of major breaks that went East Hampton’s way, the game could easily have wound up with the Bellringers celebrating an outright victory.

Somers senior Nicholas Murdza was assessed a red card with 10:25 remaining in the second overtime, forcing the Spartans to play the remainder of the game with only 10 players. East Hampton nearly capitalized on the man advantage when Kyle Cutler made a nice run with the ball, but his shot missed wide.

Moments later, Somers was called for a borderline foul inside the box, giving the Bellringers a penalty kick. As the Spartan fans held their breath, East Hampton’s Jordan Casey booted a high kick that just missed the net to the right.

“I have nothing to say on that one,” Kelley said. “It happens, it’s over with, they missed. There’s an old saying in soccer: the ball never lies. Our team worked together and practiced all kinds of game situations throughout the year, and that’s one of them, playing shorthanded.”

During the feeling-out process of the opening 20 minutes, each team had one legitimate scoring opportunity. Somers goalkeeper Kyle Trusch dove to his right to snare a shot by Nicholas Piscatelli after a nice move near the net, then moments later, the Spartans’ Jacob Regulbuto showed some fancy footwork inside the box but missed wide with a shot.

Regulbuto, a freshman, demonstrated ability beyond his years with a nice rush down the left sideline early in the second half, but again missed the net.

Somers had back-to-back chances in the latter part of the second half, but could not convert. Corey Brown made some acrobatic moves before centering the ball to Murdza, but East Hampton goalkeeper Ian Reilly made the save. Less than a minute later, Murdza missed just wide from 22 yards out.

The Spartans had one final chance in regulation time, on a corner kick that was headed toward the goal, but Reilly again made a fine stop.

Trusch came up big in the opening minute of the first overtime, stopping a hard shot by Cutler. The Spartans caught a break when a shot by the Bellringers’ Jarrett DeBowsky hit the goal post.

“We knew they were fast and knew they were physical, and part of our strategy was to mark up on their forwards,” Kelley said. “I was happy with the way we owned the middle third of the field, and that progressed into the final third, but the boys I’m sure are a little disappointed with their lack of finishing.”

Despite the disappointment of not capturing the outright championship, Somers did claim its fifth title since 2004, including a pair of co-championships. The Spartans placed second in their previous trip to the finals in 2012.

“These boys have a lot of family members and friends that have experienced solitary win, so they know a different level,” Kelley said. “I wasn’t part of that era, but it’s such a great group of kids and a great community. I can’t say enough wonderful things about what we accomplished this year.”

somers BSocc

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