The Southington representation on the University of Saint Joseph men’s soccer team goes from one to four as three more Blue Knights make the trip to West Hartford.
Sophomore Hayden Burbank played for the Blue Jays in 2018, which was their inaugural season. Burbank played in 15 games and scored three goals for USJ as a freshman. He had the lone goal for the Blue Jays in their 2-1 loss to Norwich College in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinal game. All three of Burbank’s goals came in his final four games of the season.
Joining Burbank at USJ are freshmen Elijah Rodriguez, Joseph Colaccino and John Griffin. Rodriguez and Colaccino are both slotted on defense on the Blue Jay 2019 roster. Griffin is listed as a goalkeeper. Rodriguez and Colaccino earned All-CCC West Region honors during their senior season at Southington High School. Griffin was the starting goalkeeper for the Knights, who went 4-10-2 in 2018.
Rodriguez was a key contributor on the Southington 2017 division championship team and was a mainstay on the backline for most of his career, according to Dave Yanosy, his high school coach. He said Rodriguez’s tremendous speed and athleticism make for an extremely bright future.
Colaccino, also a key contributor on the 2017 division championship squad, “has tremendous skill and vision with the ability to find the back of the net,” according to Yanosy.
“These qualities, coupled with his leadership abilities and technical skills, made him a great recruit for head coach Paul Wright,” Yanosy said.
Burbank earned All-CCC West Region accolades for Southington in 2016 and 2017.
USJ opens the 2019 season today at home against MCLA, the team it beat last season in the program’s inaugural game. The kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on the new turf field at USJ. The Blue Jays were picked to finish seventh out of 12 teams in the GNAC.
Burbank, Rodriguez, Colaccino and Griffin aren’t the only former Southington High athletes playing at USJ this fall. Sophomore Ariana Gazaferi is a sophomore midfielder for the women’s soccer team, which opens its season today at home against Manhattanville at 3 p.m. The women’s game is the first of a doubleheader.
University of Connecticut
Three Knights are on the 2019 Huskies football roster. Jay Rose is a junior tight end for Randy Edsall, who is in the second season of his second stint at UConn. Tight end Tim O’Shea III is a redshirt freshman while wide receiver Jacob Flynn is a freshman.
“Thank you Wagner College for giving me the opportunity to play at the D1 level,” O’Shea tweeted on April 28. I will be transferring from Wagner, and I’m extremely excited to announce that I will be attending and playing football at the University of Connecticut!”
“I visited, I liked all the facilities and everything, I liked how they run their practice, and I just thought that it would be where I would go,” Flynn said after a mass signing ceremony at SHS in late May.
The Huskies opened the 2019 season on Thursday night against Wagner College at Pratt and Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. Wagner is O’Shea’s former school.
University of Maine
Jamie Lamson joins the Black Bear football program as a freshman wide receiver. Maine is ranked seventh in the 2019 FCS preseason coaches’ poll.
“I knew they had a great season last year,” Lamson said after the May signing ceremony. “That really got me there, and then I went and visited the campus, loved the coaches, loved just the atmosphere and everything.”
The Bears open the season tonight at home against Sacred Heart University at 6 o’clock.
Freshmen Lynsey Danko and Rhiannon Simione look to make an immediate impact with the women’s rugby team, which opens the season on Saturday at Brown University at 12 p.m.
“I hope to contribute on and off the field as I move forward with new coaches, teammates, and memories to embark,” Danko said in a meet the newcomers post on the LIU Post rugby webpage. “I could not be more lucky and excited to become an LIU Shark!”
“I’m looking forward to continuing my rugby career with such a great program like LIU,” Simione said.
University of Hartford
Senior Sean Garrison is looking to be a big contributor for the men’s cross country season, which starts the season on Sept. 7 at the Maribel Sanchez Souther Invitational, hosted by Dartmouth College at the Hanover Country Club in New Hampshire.
Evan Daddona is a redshirt freshman goalkeeper for the men’s soccer team, which opens the season tonight at 7 o’clock at Cal State Fullerton.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com