Wildcats repeat as state champs
By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Suffield - posted Wed., Nov. 28, 2012
The Suffield High School boys’ soccer team could not put away the undefeated Bacon Academy Bobcats in 80 minutes of regulation, but it took just over eight minutes into the first overtime period for the Wildcats to notch the goal to repeat as Class M state champions and earn their eighth state championship overall.
Senior Ryan Della-Panna netted the game-winning goal with 6:28 left in the first overtime period to give the second-seeded Wildcats the 3-2 victory, over top-seeded Bacon Academy (19-1) at Rosek Skubel- Stadium at Middletown High School on Nov. 23.
“It’s a special season. We graduated eight starters, 11 dominant seniors, and this senior class came in inexperienced with not a lot of time last year, and they put it together,” said head coach Mark Beigel. “These guys have been up against it all season; it seems like every game is like this, it’s live and learn. No matter how much anyone knocked us down, we always got up and came back. [With a record of] 19-1, two years in a row, I am very impressed with this group.”
Suffield got on the board first when sophomore Colton Grob played a short corner kick, received it back and played a ball to the far post to junior Sean Sullivan, who headed it into the back of the net just seven minutes into the match. Sophomore Brent Baskin extended the lead to 2 with 19 minutes left in the half by punching in a centering pass from Sullivan. Bacon Academy would not go away and closed their deficit to 1 with under 13 minutes left in the half on a goal from junior Brendan Quinn.
It took a mere six minutes into the second half for the Bobcats to tie the game on a header from senior Danny Pinto. The tournament’s top-seeded teams failed to capitalize on any chances, forcing two 15-minute overtimes.
Della-Penna’s game-winner came eight minutes into the first overtime when he put in a rebound from sophomore Jack Lydon’s shot.
“I wasn't at the right spot, my coach would probably say," Della-Penna said. "Back-to-back championships don’t happen often and I am glad that we could do it this year.”
Sullivan was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, scoring a goal and tallying two assists.