Weston boys soccer advances in Class M
Win one for the coach is the mantra for the 29th-seeded Weston boys soccer team in its Class M playoff run. Weston opened the tournament with a 1-0 victory over fourth-seeded Windham Tech at Eastern Connecticut State University while having Coach Kevin Fitzsimmons in its collective minds. Fitzsimmons is in England because his father passed away on Sunday.
"This tournament is all about Kevin and the hard work he's done for us," Trojan senior tri-captain Zack Levine said. "It must be killing him not to be here with us after working so hard for us."
Weston raised its record to 7-9-1 behind the stewardship of its former coach and current athletic director, Mark Berkowitz. Windham Tech ended its season at 13-3-1.
"The competition our boys face during the regular season prepares them for this more than the competition Windham Tech faces during the season," Berkowitz said.
The Trojans outshot the Mighty Tigers, 15-3 and had a 5-1 advantage in corner kicks. Levine and senior tri-captain Jared Weiss helped Weston win almost every 50-50 ball and the defense shut down Windham Tech's offense. Senior tri-captain Jack Steinharter, junior Mike Certoma and freshman Ethan Tyson led the defense in keeping the ball away from Trojan sophomore goalie, Ryan Major (three saves).
"From the opening whistle, it was clear that we wanted it more than Windham Tech," Levine said. "It was a total team effort on our part. We could have put away a few more goals but it's a good start to the tournament and we'll take it."
"The goal is a credit to Paul Philpott," Frost said. "He went right down the line and I was in the right place at the right time. I put my foot on it and got it into the back of the net."
In the second half, Weston used four defenders to help preserve the lead with junior Charlie DeMarco joining Steinharter, Certoma and Tyson. This is Weston's first playoff win since 2005, the year it was Class M co-champions with East Catholic.
"I thought we deserved the win, we outplayed them and wanted it more than them," Steinharter said.
Weiss said, "We came out hard in the beginning and held them off for the rest of the game. It feels amazing to get past the first round."
Although he's in England, Fitzsimmons is proud of his team.
"I'm proud of the boys," Fitzsimmons texted. "They went out and did a great job under difficult circumstances."
Weston plays tomorrow at either 13th-seeded Lewis Mills or 20th-seeded Kaynor Tech. Lewis Mills hosted Kaynor Tech yesterday after press time.