Ellington Boys Soccer Beats Rival Suffield in Huge Win

ELLINGTON-The Ellington high school boys soccer team has had an outstanding regular season, with many impressive wins. On Saturday night, the Knights obtained their signature triumph.

Ellington (13-2) rallied from a one-goal deficit to defeat the Wildcats (11-3) 3-2 in front of a passionate home crowd. Senior Zack Kindall scored the winning goal midway through the second half. The win was Ellington’s first against their rivals in multiple seasons. The Wildcats won their last matchup 4-0.

“This win is indescribable,” Kindall said. “I’ve been on varsity for four years and we haven’t been able to beat them, and it just feels great.”

The physical game was exciting and fast-paced throughout, and featured many athletic plays. The energy hit a fever pitch midway through the second half, when three goals were scored in a short period of time and the lead changed hands twice.

This flurry of goals began when senior Mike McFarlane scored his second goal of the game to put Suffield up 2-1. McFarlane showcased his speed by racing past defenders on the right sideline and then fired a shot past goalie Bailey Bassett to his left.

Barely a minute later, junior John Chamberland and Ellington were ready for their response. Amid a crowd of players in front of the Suffield goals, Chamberland corralled the bouncing ball and snuck it past goalkeeper Henry Cutler.

Quickly, Kindall continued the stretch of great offensive plays while putting the Knights ahead to stay. Kindall successfully outraced Wildcats defenders to a loose ball near the goal following a stretch of aggressive ball movement, and found open space inside to sneak it past Cutler and provide EHS a 3-2 lead.

‘I was really proud of the response the players had after going down 2-1, getting a quick response goal was key to the comeback,” Ellington head coach Roy Gurnon said. “On the second goal, John had great composure to just put the ball in the goal and not blast it over, and then Zack just beat the defenders to the ball on his. They were nice goals.”

Kindall discussed his winning goal afterwards.

“The ball was placed over the top, I had a guy on me and scrambled to the ball and just beat him, and was able to slip the ball past the goalie. It was as simple as that.”

He also reflected upon the team’s ability to stay focused and composed as it executed its comeback.

“We’ve been in that situation multiple times and know to just keep pushing and pushing, and we were able to rally. I was so proud of the guys for their effort today.”

Suffield head coach Mark Cervione provided simple answers when asked about the factors which led to his team’s loss.

“Ellington played very hard and was first to the ball. We made mistakes mistakes on the field and in our goal, such as letting their player take throw ins which landed in the 18 yard box way too many times, and not clearing the ball well in our defensive third,” Cervione said.

“It has always been a well fought match between our teams. We do not sleep well at night when Ellington beats us,” he said.

The Knights defense secured the huge win in the final few minutes as the action slowed down. Its defenders limited the movement of Suffield players and successfully blocked passes and shots, quickly ending possessions. The Wildcats best scoring chance came in the final moments in front of the goal, with the ball going just wide of the net partially largely thanks to last-minute interference by defenders.

“Our back four defenders did a very good job and defended with tightness, and they have gotten much better over the course of the year,” Gurnon said. “They again did well against a tough team.”

The game was a lot of fun from the opening whistle, with aggressive play on both offense and defense. Ellington possessed the ball a majority of the first half, especially early, moving the ball down the field quickly and passing it well. While the Knights were able to get off a lot of shots, Suffield defenders successfully interfered with many, while others were inaccurate. Sophomore Ryan Zahner put Ellington on the board roughly 10 minutes in, firing the ball above Cutler and in amid a crowd of players.

As the game got deeper into the first half, Suffield began to possess the ball more and obtain scoring opportunities. The Wildcats capitalized midway through the half. McFarland outraced multiple defenders with the ball down the left sideline and fired a beautiful shot past Bassett to his right.

In the half’s final few minutes and the opening minutes of the second, both teams ramped up their defense. Offensive players found it very difficult to get free of defenders and possess the ball for an extended amount of time, and their shots were not efficient.

With the win, Ellington maintains second place in the NCCC, while Suffield falls to fourth behind rival Somers. As of Saturday night, the teams are fourth and eighth in the Class M standings. The Knights final regular season game is at home Monday against Somers, while Suffield plays at HMTCA and Bolton Monday and Wednesday.

Gurnon and Kindall discussed the momentum Saturday’s win will give them heading into the state tournament, and the confidence level of the team.

“The win will certainly give us momentum in terms of seeding and a higher one is better for us. It helps our confidence to beat Suffield, and I think we’re in a good place right now,” Gurnon said.

“The win puts us in the right direction for the playoffs. We know what we need to do now to play well and push the ball,” Kindall said.

Cervione is hoping to see resilliency from the Suffield players.

“Moving forward, we need to be more aggressive and play better soccer to advance in the tournament.”

  

 

Suffield Girls Defeat Ellington on Road to Stay Undefeated 

Ellington put up a good fight against Suffield Saturday night, limiting the Wildcats to their lowest point total of the season and being only the second team to finish within one goal of Suffield. Ultimately however, the Knights (8-4-2) could not pull off the upset against the undefeated Wildcats (14-0).

Suffield was led on offense by senior Alyssa Bergamini and junior McKenzie Sullivan. Bergamini scored both Wildcats goals, while Sullivan set them up with pinpoint passes. Their defense was able to limit Ellington’s possessions, with junior goalie Ava Boccasile having to make just two saves.

“I thought we played pretty well overall, especially in the first 20 minutes,” Suffield head coach David Sullivan said. “Ellington kept pushing everyone ahead, so eventually that goal was going to come. We should have finished a lot more, but overall, I’m pleased. We knew they were going to give us a game at home.”

Freshman Alyssa Stetson scored for the Knights. Senior Gina Carroll came up huge for the team in goal, making 14 saves.

Suffield remains first in the NCCC, while Ellington is fourth in the standings. Suffield is currently ranked first in the LL standings with two games remaining before the state tournaments. The Wildcats will play HMTCA and Bolton on Monday and Wednesday, while the Knights battle Somers and East Windsor Monday and Tuesday to end the season.

“I’m happy with how we’ve played in our last few games. We’ve really been focused on playing well on defense and preparing for tournament play,” Sullivan said. “I think we’re in the position we want to be and ready for the tournament.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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