By BRIAN JENNINGS
Southington coach Dave Yanosy said that he was half-kidding when he talked with Glastonbury coach Mark Landers after Wednesday’s second-round contest of the Class LL tournament. Yanosy was hoping that the eight-day layoff would leave Landers’ high-powered Tomahawks coming into the game lethargic with a lack of energy. But that didn’t happen.
It seemed like the Blue Knight soccer team was destined for a magical run through the postseason, following a complete turnabout. A number of injuries to key starters, including potential Division I goalkeeper Evan Daddona, forced the Knights to go 2-4-2 in their first eight games of the regular season. But once the team returned to full health, they won their first division title since 2003 and entered the state tournament riding a six-game winning streak.
But Glastonbury was in no mood for a fairytale happily ever after. Southington’s season ended after the 18th seeded Knights were blanked, 3-0, at No. 2 Glastonbury (15-2-1) in the second round.
“His guys were ready to play,” said Yanosy. “Mark does a great job, as a coach, getting his team ready. They were up for it today. Certainly, the layoff didn’t hurt them.”
Sebastian Sanzaro, Jacob Gardner, and Matthew Cosentino scored all three of Glastonbury’s goals in the first half, spreading them out evenly throughout the half in the seventh, 24th, and 38th minutes. Glastonbury’s third score was an own-goal by Daddona.
“They did a great job, especially early, of coming at us,” the coach said. “I thought that first goal was important. It was a great individual play by Sebi. I think that kind of changed the momentum a little bit, and they were able to build from it and get three at the half.”
Although the Tomahawks controlled possession of the ball for most of the game, the Knights came close to goals in the second half. However, a breakaway towards the net with no defenders around was halted by the goalie, and a cross that found the front of the net was redirected wide of the post.
“We did have some pretty decent opportunities in the first half,” said Yanosy. “We didn’t cash in on them, and they did. If we get one of those, I think maybe that changes the landscape of the game a little bit. It didn’t happen for us today, but I think that Glastonbury obviously had a lot to do with that.”
Daddona saved six of Glastonbury’s 13 shots in the net. Southington took 10 shots on goal and three corner kicks.
The Knights reached the second round with a 2-1 upset over No. 15 Conard on Monday, Nov. 6.
Southington opened the scoring from about 30 yards out when Kieran Tindall lofted a free kick into the penalty box with just over 11 minutes to go in the first half. Eli Rodriguez headed Tindall’s pass into the back of the net to give the Knights a 1-0 lead.
Midway through the second half, Daddona saved a penalty kick, but Conard’s Cameron Orentas knotted the score after redirecting a teammate’s cross in the penalty box off the rebound in the 63rd minute.
Four minutes later, the Knights regained the lead for good with their first penalty kick of the season. Rodriguez was tripped in the penalty box, and Conard’s goalie stopped the penalty kick. But Hayden Burbank went the opposite way on the rebound to score the game-winner.
Daddona saved six of Conard’s 10 shots in the net. Southington took eight shots on goal and two corner kicks.
Southington went on to lose to Glastonbury in the second round. The Knights finished the season at 10-6-2, reaching 10 or more wins for the third-straight year. Yanosy said that he couldn’t have been any prouder of his team.
“This season could have easily gone the other way,” the coach said. “The captains and seniors, in general, did a great job of continuing to focus on the future, righting the ship, and sending positive messages to each other. When we got guys back, I think we were a team to be reckoned with down the stretch.”
Southington will lose the following six seniors to graduation after this season: Collin Burbank, Hayden Burbank, Evan Daddona, Kieran Tindall, Daniel Topper, and Cameron Zegzdryn.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2017/11/13/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-nov-17-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.