The Hall boys soccer team advanced to the second round of the state tournament after a blowout victory over West Haven, and across town Conard High School also advanced to the next round.
By Marlon Pitter
Seven different Warriors scored as the Hall High School boys soccer team cruised to an 8-0 victory over West Haven in the first round of the CIAC Class LL Tournament Tuesday afternoon at Chalmers Stadium in West Hartford.
Clay Courtmanche led the way with two goals, while Evan Jones, Enrik Pretashi, Charlie Cubbage, Matthew Azia, Drew Seguro, and Tomas Persano each found the net once.
While Hall head coach Zeke Seguro said the team’s performance was not perfect, balance has been the theme for the Warriors.
“I just thought, overall, our team’s strength is we’re very balanced this year,” he said. “I think ‘balance’ is probably the one word that best describes our team.
“Everyone that was in there … they did what they had to do, so I’m very pleased with that. But collectively, I think we can do better. Even though we won 8-0 … as you move on in the tournament, especially the next round, it’s difficult.”
Courtmanche opened the scoring with a goal less than six minutes into the game, assisted by Jones. Jones then scored with 22:56 left in the half after fending off multiple Blue Devil defenders to put the Warriors up 2-0.
Pretashi settled the ball after a corner kick through the box to add Hall’s third tally with 9:24 remaining.
The Warriors took a 3-0 lead into halftime, but they continued to put shots on net after the break.
Just over 14 minutes into the second half, Cubbage sent in a rebound on a short side angle from the left of the net to give Hall at 4-0 cushion.
Courtmanche scored his second goal four minutes later. He got past a West Haven defender and rolled a shot off the right post and into the net.
Azia scored the Warriors’ sixth goal with 18:52 remaining. Azia connected with a free kick Max Seguro sent into the box to get on the board.
Drew Seguro maneuvered past a defender and scored from inside the box to put Hall up 7-0 with 12:56 left.
Persano joined the scoring party with four minutes left, assisted by Ruben Miras-DeSimone.
Hall will host Fairfield-Warde in the second round of the tournament on Thursday. With a tournament win under their belts, Courtmanche, a senior and one of three captains for the Warriors, said the team needs to stay focused on their next opponent to have success.
“In the past, we’ve had some trouble in the tournament staying focused and looking past the game that’s coming up next, but I feel like this year we’re doing a great job of focusing on the game up next,” said Courtmanche. “Now we’re worried about Thursday.”
Zeke Seguro echoed Courtmanche’s sentiment heading into the second round: “We just want to win the next game. That’s it.”
Conard Advances in Class LL Tournament With Win Over Norwalk
The captains of the Conard High School boys soccer team led the way to a 2-0 victory over Norwalk in the first round of the CIAC Class LL Tournament Tuesday night at McKee Stadium in West Hartford.
Shane Carr gave the Chieftains the lead with a goal near the 30-minute mark in the first half. Carr found the ball in the box after a Conard corner kick for the eventual game-winner.
The Chieftains later sealed the victory as John Scrimgeour headed in Andres Mayuri’s corner kick to give Conard a 2-0 lead with 6:12 remaining in the second half.
“At halftime, what we talked about was not looking at it as 40 minutes,” said Conard head coach Adam Linker. “We looked at playing 10 minutes at a time and breaking it down into those 10-minute quarters and looking to win 10-minute segments at a time.
“We were looking to put them on their heels and not just sit back and accept 1-0 because anything can happen in that situation.”
The Bears battled with the Chieftains in the second half as they moved the ball quickly and skillfully – rather than with physicality – to create chances.
Among the top teams Conard has faced this season, such as Farmington, Glastonbury, and Hall, none presented a style of play that challenged the Chieftains the way Norwalk did, Linker said.
Conard will travel to South Windsor for the second round of the state tournament on Thursday. Linker’s faith in his group remains unwavering as the Chieftains continue the playoffs on the road.
“They need to realize it doesn’t matter who they play,” Linker said. “They are capable of beating anyone on any given day. Give me this team, give me the moment, and I’d be crazy not to believe in what I have.”
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