Knights feel tourney heartbreak

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Ellington - posted Wed., Nov. 16, 2011
Ellington senior Ryan Whiting catches the ball with his foot before a centering cross during the second-round of the CIAC Class M tournament game vs. Nonnewaug on Nov. 15. Photos by Steve Smith.
Ellington senior Ryan Whiting catches the ball with his foot before a centering cross during the second-round of the CIAC Class M tournament game vs. Nonnewaug on Nov. 15. Photos by Steve Smith.

Coach Roy Gurnon made certain he congratulated each of his players on their great season individually, after the Ellington High School boys' soccer team's heartbreaking loss on penalty kicks to Nonnewaug in the second round of the Class M state tournament Nov. 14.

The Knights had finished the regular season with a record of 10-4-1. While 5-seeded Nonnewaug had the same number of wins, it had not lost a game all season, and played to ties six times.

Ellington, the tourney’s 11-seed, beat 21-seed Joel Barlow in the first round, 2-1.

On Nov. 15, Ellington and Nonnewaug battled for 100 minutes, trading possession and attacks pretty consistently, but neither team was able to put the right combination together and punch one in. The PKs started off going Ellington’s way, with the Knights making the first two of their shots. But, Nonnewaug goalie Justin Knobloch found his zone and kept his net clean, while his teammates scored three times.

Gurnon said that following a season where the Knights prided themselves on their finishes, this loss was particularly tough. “This game’s going to sting. We just didn’t play the soccer we’re capable of playing,” he said. “We didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that we had.”

Nonnewaug played just how Ellington thought they would. "We knew they would try to control the ball and knock it up to their front guys. We kind of never adjusted. We couldn’t get into a rhythm of passing it to the next guy and creating the space. Then, when you go to penalty kicks, it’s whatever happens. They made them, we didn’t,” said Gurnon.

The Knights played hard, and took the loss hard, Gurnon said. “It was more the way we played, but certainly not from a lack of effort,” he said. “This is a tough way for our seniors to go out.”

Those seniors – Jeff Patrick, Cameron King, Zachary Topor, Kyle Pkickys, Brian Tiedt, Ryan Whiting, Stone Oliver and Matt Lechkun - were largely responsible for the Knights’ great 2011 campaign.

“We wouldn’t have had the season we had without them,” Gurnon said.


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