Glastonbury boys' soccer team earns hard-fought co-championship
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Mon., Nov. 18, 2013
It took 110 minutes of play, and neither team could tip the balance in the CIAC Class LL boys’ soccer championship. Glastonbury and Ridgefield were declared co-champions after ending the epic battle in a 1-1 tie.
Ridgefield struck first, with a goal at 16:43 remaining in the first half. The Tigers’ Daniel Standish tapped in a ball that had rattled around in the box off of a corner.
It took until 2:26 remaining in regulation for Glastonbury to get on the board. A corner kick from senior Evan Grenus ricocheted off the noggin of junior Tyler Peterson and into the netting.
The Tomahawks were playing with a man-advantage for most of the second half. Ridgfield’s Ryan Casolo was sent off after his second yellow card for hard tackling.
Two 15-minute periods included chances by both teams to put the game away, but ultimately both Ridgefield and Glastonbury were beaten by the clock. Per CIAC rules, championship games are not decided by penalty kicks. The Tomahawks survived a close shave, when a Ridgefield shot was deflected by goalie Chase Conway and just barely nicked the crossbar and went over, two minutes into the first overtime period. Conway had five saves on the day. Ridgefield goalie Nick Steer had 10.
“Chase has been working hard, coming up on aerial balls, and we saw that today,” Landers said. “He smothered a couple today, and that one kid had a good shot that kind of knuckled on him. What great high school players do is follow shots and get the rebound.”
Landers said an overall team effort earned them a share of the title, and that Ridgefield should feel the same way. “It would have been a shame if somebody walked out of here a loser,” said coach Mark Landers. “Both teams just completely battled and left everything on the field.”
Landers said his team tried to utilize the flanks and keep the ball wide, but the Tigers seemed to have an answer for that, except for that late goal.
“I don’t know how we do it, but we seemed to find a way at the end of the game,” Landers said, adding that Ridgefield continued to play hard, even when they were a man down.
“It’s the state championship,” he said. “So, even when you have a man advantage, the other team is going to battle for their lives the entire time, and they did.”
The Tomahawks came back from deficits in its previous tournament games, and Landers said it was cool heads that kept them in games. “I just don’t think we panic, even when the clock is ticking down,” he said. “Even today, I was thinking under five minutes that maybe we were getting a little tight, because we haven’t been that tight before, but we found a way to get a goal inside the last three minutes to tie the game. We didn’t get the one we wanted in overtime, but I’m extremely proud of these guys.”
The Tomahawks finish with a 17-2-4 record and a new banner to hang in the school’s gymnasium. When asked if the game ending in a stalemate was anti-climactic, Landers said the outcome is a happy one.
“Both teams get the gold medals," Landers said. "Both teams get the banners, and both teams are state champs, so there’s nothing wrong with that."