Tolland Advances In Class M Tourney

By Nate Zielinski

TOLLAND — From the beginning of the season every team has a common goal: win a championship.

The Tolland boys soccer team came within a whisker of achieving that goal last year only to lose in the Class M tournament final. The Eagles have been resolute in their determination to earn a return trip to the title game this season.

And after a thrilling 1-0 victory over Plainville in the CIAC Class M tournament quarterfinals Saturday night, the Eagles are now one step away from going back to the big game.

The Eagles controlled the first half, and with 16 minutes remaining Tommy Leahy timed his run into the box perfectly on a cross. Leahy put the shot into the bottom corner well out of the reach of the Plainville keeper.

“When the first goal went in it was a confidence booster and it really helped us get through the game,” said Leahy

Tolland goalie Nick Olsen and Plainville goalie Sergio Zaldivar made huge saves in the first half to keep the score at 1-0.

Griffin Kopsick and Jack Carmody came painfully close to extending Tolland’s lead in the second half but Kopsick was stopped by Zaldivar and Carmody just missed the frame of the goal with time winding down in the second half.

As for Plainville, Joshua Thompkins and Alex Zelasko stabilized the defense, and their best offensive chances came from Juan Torres and Adnan Sadiku but it never materialized in a scoring opportunity as Tolland’s defense remained stout.

“Those last minutes were tough, we got a lot of guys back and we just made sure everyone stuck to their man,” said Leahy.

With the victory Tolland earned a trip to the semifinals against top seeded Lewis Mills-Burlington on Tuesday.

“We know if we play our best we can make it really far in this tournament,” said Leahy

In their first three tournament games, Tolland has outscored their opponents 16-1, but Lewis Mills hasn’t conceded a goal in their two matchups thus far.

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