Suffield punches ticket to Class M Final

By Adam Betz

NEW BRITAIN — The Suffield boys soccer team came into its Class M semifinal tournament game Tuesday determined to get off to a fast start. And that’s exactly what the Wildcats did, scoring four first half goals on the way to a 4-1 victory and an upset of the No.1 seeded Bears at Willow Brook Park.

Suffield (16–3) began the tournament as the No 5 seed and will now advance to the Class M championship game on Saturday. The victory also avenged a regular season loss to Granby (17-1-1) and ended the Bear’s 16-game winning streak in the process.

“Granby came out, when we played them, and wanted it more,” said Suffield’s head coach Mark Cervione. “And today, my guys wanted it back. They wanted to get that loss back.”

And that they did.

The game started as expected: both teams played cautiously, each not wanting to make a mistake. In the 27th minute, Suffield’s Dylan Carzello put home a shot, giving the Wildcats the lead. Over the next six minutes, Suffield was able to increase its lead to 3-0 , with goals coming from Mike McFarlane and another by Carzello. Less than a minute later, Jonathan Bystrowski cut into the deficit, giving Granby its only goal of the game. In the 37th minute, McFarlane netted his second goal of the game, and gave the Wildcats a 3-goal leading at the half.

After the break, Granby threatened in the 12th minute, drawing a free-kick just outside the box. The initial kick was blocked by Suffield’s wall, as was the rebound. A third chance was generated by the Bears, but it was punched away on a diving save by Henry Cutler. The teams played to a stalemate for a remainder of the game.

“The quick goals helped”, McFarlane said. “We were able to step back and focus on defending in the second half.”

Coming into the game, Granby had not allowed more than two goals in any game during the season. Cervione credits his players for the offensive outburst.

“All of our practices, we’ve been trying to keep the ball on the ground,” Cervione said. “We play better soccer when we move the ball on the ground. And to talk about what the game plan was: nothing counts until the ball is in the back of the net, and we need aggressive guys going after whatever type of garbage, wether it be off the post, the goalie, or whatnot to move on.”

The win puts Suffield back in the championship game, a place where they haven’t been since 2013, where they won their third consecutive title.

With a shot at another championship waiting for his team on Saturday, head coach Cervione has another chance to add to the family trophy room: he’s won a state title as a player and he’s won four as an assistant, while his sons were on the field. Now, he’s trying for one as the head coach.

“I don’t think that anyone expected us to be here,” Cervione said. “The whole time, I’ve been preaching to these guys: it’s tournament time. Any team can beat the number one seed.”

There is the potential an all-NCCC final, and a rubber match of a season series between Suffield and Ellington. Suffield won the first meeting, 4-0, and Ellington won the second 3-2, the Wildcats last loss of the season.

“I don’t care. I don’t care who we face,” McFarlane said. “We know Ellington, we got them earlier in the season. We’re really not worried, honestly. Whoever we play, we are going to prepare the same way: we’re going to come in hard.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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