Top-seeded Pomperaug boots Weston boys from SWCs
The Weston boys soccer team appears to be a tough out in the upcoming Class M tournament.
Eighth-seeded Weston proved it Saturday by giving host top-seeded Pomperaug, a Class LL school, all it could handle before falling short, 1-0.
"They are the best team in the league an we lost 1-nil twice to them this year, which shows we can play with them," Trojans coach Kevin Fitzsimmons said.
Pomperaug raised its record to 16-0-1 and hosted fifth-seeded Bethel last night after press time in the SWC semifinals. Weston dropped to 8-5-4 and await its seed for the Class M playoffs, which begins Nov. 8.
It was a defensive struggle for the most part with Trojan senior captain Mike Certoma, junior Jared Weisman and sophomore Ethan Lee-Tyson anchoring the defense and keeping the Panthers at bay for the most part. Lee-Tyson also made a save in the latter stages of the game off a rebound after junior goalie Ryan Major (11 saves) made the initial stop.
Major was solid in net all game and made many saves on Pomperaug's free kicks.
"They didn't get too many great shots off because the defense did a great job of containing them," Major said. "Ethan helped me keep one ball out of the net. Their shots weren't that difficult and the one goal they got was because of miscommunication."
The Panthers did have the territorial edge for the most part and they scored their goal when senior Taylor Ellsworth headed home a cross from junior Noah Altamirano with 8:06 remaining in the second half. Overall, Pomperaug outshot Weston 14-6. The Trojans picked up their play in the second and finished the game with a 6-4 advantage in corner kicks, 5-1 after the break.
Weston's best opportunity came when freshman Simeon Okoro had a breakaway but was offsides before getting off the shot. Senior Jensen Frost shot one over the net. Sophomore Asher Lee-Tyson fired a shot on a corner kick late in the game but Panther senior goalie Zach Goodridge (two saves) caught it to preserve the lead. Okoro, Ruben and junior Andrew Parks also had shots for the Trojans. Frost finished the game with two shots.
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Despite the loss, Weston feels good about its performance and is bouyed about the upcoming Class M tournament.
"I'm very encouraged because we played well," Fitzsimmons said. "We took a lot of confidence from this performance and every game, we're getting better and better."
Fitzsimmons used three freshmen on his squad and has a goal for the upcoming tournament.
"We're looking to go one better than last year [where the team made it to the quarterfinals] and make it to the semifinals," Fitzsimmons said. "It depends on the draw. We have to work hard and stay focused, which is our philosophy."