With the win, Hall will host Cheshire Wednesday afternoon in second-round action.
By Marlon Pitter
Liam Wilson scored on a penalty kick, while Evan Jones and Drew Seguro added goals in the final 17 minutes to help No. 5 Hall defeat No. 28 E.O. Smith 3-1 in the Class LL tournament opener Monday night in West Hartford.
“When you get to the state tournament, it’s a whole new season,” said Hall head coach Zeke Seguro. “You can throw the records out. It doesn’t matter who you play. Everyone knows that if you don’t play your best, you go home, your season ends.
“I thought [E.O. Smith] worked, they worked extremely hard. They did what they had to do stay in the game and give themselves a chance, and we had to play really well to get out of here with the result.”
With 17 minutes left in the second half, the Warriors drew a foul in the box to earn the penalty kick, and Wilson found the right side of the net to put Hall ahead 1-0.
“Nothing phases Liam,” Zeke Seguro said. “He’s been our PK taker for the last two years. Whether he misses or makes it, he just goes up with the same approach. … I think it’s his confidence, his leadership, the way he demands things on the field. How can I not go with him?”
Jones scored the game-winning goal off a cross from Tobias Ruffo with six minutes left. The Panthers (8-8-1) scored amongst a scrum in front of the Hall net with 1:08 to play, but Drew Seguro scored from Jamie Cowan to reclaim the two-goal lead at the 54-second mark.
Hall outshot E.O. Smith 17-6 and earned a 4-2 advantage in corner kicks.
For E.O. Smith, the tournament loss ends the decades-long career of head coach John Blomstrann, whom Seguro lauded after the game.
“Their coach, I have the utmost respect for,” he said. “Forty years of coaching. My understanding [is] this is his last season, last game, and I have so much admiration for what he’s done throughout the years. He’s a class act, and he’s going to be missed dearly in the high school ranks.”
The Warriors will host their second-round opponent, No. 12 Cheshire (11-4-1), Wednesday at 2 p.m.
“We played them last year in the quarterfinals,” Seguro said. “They’re another team that’s going to be very organized. Artur Branco does an amazing job there year in and year out, and we’re expecting that it’s going to be a very competitive match.”
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