[Updated] No. 2 Hall defeated No. 7 Chesire, setting up a semifinal match against No. 19 East Hartford on Wednesday.
By Marlon Pitter
The Hall High School boys soccer team continued its playoff run with a 3-0 victory over No. 7 Cheshire in the CIAC Class LL Quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Chalmers Stadium in West Hartford.
Senior co-captain Clay Courtmanche led the Warriors with a goal and an assist to send Hall to the semifinals against No. 19 East Hartford on Wednesday.
The Warriors scored all three goals in the first half. With strong winds in their favor, the Warriors played aggressively to convert on scoring chances early.
“We had the wind. I felt we had to try to take advantage of the wind and really push it,” said Hall head coach Zeke Seguro. “I knew it was going to be a bit of a struggle in the second half because the wind was definitely a factor.
“I’m just very pleased with their effort and their work and their commitment to one another. We know it’s never going to be easy. Cheshire’s a very good team.”
Jamie Cowan struck first for Hall with 23:42 remaining in the first half. Courtmanche provided the assist on Cowan’s tally.
Courtmanche turned defense into offense on his goal. He forced a turnover and sent a shot past the Cheshire keeper from just outside the box with 16:23 remaining.
Adding to their lead, Isaiah Perry tapped in a cross from Liam Wilson to put the Warriors up 3-0 with 10:48 to play before halftime.
The Rams created opportunities in the second half, but Hall’s lead and defensive play made it difficult for Cheshire to mount a comeback.
Through three tournament games, Hall has scored 12 goals while not allowing any. The team’s offensive and defensive depth is a key to its success, Seguro said.
“This is a team effort,” he said. “There’s not one guy that’s carried us. This is probably my most complete team … and I think that has a lot to do with our success so far.”
While the whole team is clicking, for Seguro, Courtmanche leading the team on the field could not have come at a better time. Courtmanche leads the Warriors with three goals in the postseason and has an assist to his credit as well.
“He has to play well, and this is the reason why I’m using him on the field,” Seguro said. “He’s going to play at the collegiate level in goal, but he has a lot of ability as a field player. He’s a great talent, and we rely on him, not just to score, but to set guys up.
“For someone who doesn’t play full-time on the field, he’s done an amazing job.”
While Hall won three home games to reach the semifinals, East Hartford won all three of its tournament games on the road – a 2-0 victory over No. 14 Fairfield Ludlowe on Tuesday, 3-0 against No. 3 Fairfield Prep and 2-1 (5-4 in penalty kicks) over No. 6 Danbury.
As the teams’ paths intersect in the semifinals, the Warriors and Hornets will meet at a neutral site to play for a spot in the state championship game.
The CIAC announced Sunday that the game will be played on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 6:30 p.m., at Veterans Stadium in New Britain, following the other semifinal game between Glastonbury and Pomperaug.
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