Hall earns the season sweep over Conard in the regular-season finale for both teams.
By Marlon Pitter
The Hall boys soccer team scored four second-half goals en route to a 4-0 win over crosstown rival Conard Monday night at Chalmers Stadium in West Hartford.
Evan Jones scored on an assist from Drew Seguro and Jamie Cowan 10 minutes into the second half to break the scoreless tie. Jones returned the favor, assisting Seguro to double the lead at the 28:50 mark.
Coming off a tight and chippy first half, the two quick goals helped set the tone in the second half. Hall head coach Zeke Seguro said the Warriors improved dramatically in the final 40 minutes.
“I thought [in] the first half we were non-existent,” said Seguro. “We were trying to go for that final ball to get in and not showing any patience. … It’s not always that final ball. You’ve gotta be patient, work it in, look to combine and then get in. I thought we did a lot better job in the second half.”
Down 2-0, Anthony Catanzaro missed an opportunity to cut the deficit in half with Hall goalkeeper Max Kalsner Kershan out of the net with under 17 minutes to play.
Evan Lombardo scored on a free kick with 12 minutes to play to make it 3-0. Lucas Almeida collected a cross from Daniel Herz to score Hall’s fourth goal with under eight minutes left.
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“We definitely came out with a little bit more energy this time, and we held it together for a long time, but we gave them an inch in the second half, and they buried it,” said Conard head coach Adam Linker. “The momentum swung really quickly, and they created their chances, and they buried their chances. We had a difficult time on ours.”
While the Warriors (13-1-2) weren’t as fluid offensively early on, they still managed to apply pressure with eight shots and six corner kicks in the first half. Conard goalkeeper Baden Krisst (6 saves) stopped a shot from Jones in the box seven minutes before halftime.
The Chieftains (8-5-3) were on their heels in the second half as well, minutes before the Warriors eventually broke through to score. Conard players blocked a barrage of Hall shots to keep the game tied near the 31:30 mark.
With the regular season complete, both teams will prepare for the Class LL state tournament. Hall will host a first-round matchup on Monday, while Conard will play on the road. The CIAC will announce the tournament bracket on Friday.
Seguro said playing Conard to finish the regular season was good preparation for the intensity of the state tournament.
“It definitely helps because this is what it’s going to be like,” said Seguro. “You’re going to get into the tournament, you’re going to face some very good teams. Conard’s a very good team. They’re young in some positions, but they came to play, and I respect them as a program. They helped get the best out of us.
“This year, at least up to this point, I think that we’re growing. We’ve gotten better from the beginning of the year, and I just hope that we can keep improving.”
Linker said Conard’s performances against the strength of its schedule have been a positive factor heading into the postseason. Conard’s five losses have come against Hall, Glastonbury, Farmington and Bristol Eastern, all of whom are in the top seven of their respective state tournament rankings as of Tuesday morning.
“We’ve lost to the teams that were of the elite group, and we’ve done a very good job against everyone else,” said Linker. “If we can figure out how to get through some of these elite groups once we play them, then I think we’ve done a good job.”
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