Stonington boys remain unbeaten and repeat as ECC soccer champs
East Lyme — Stonington High School's soccer motto for 2017: "Sweep The Shed," which is another way of saying there is no task too menial or mundane for any of the boys.
Turns out the Bears weren't merely adept at sweeping sheds, but they swept through their entire conference, too.
The culmination was Thursday night in the Eastern Connecticut Conference tournament championship game, a 1-0 win over stubborn Ledyard at the Dick North Sports Complex. The Bears (18-0-1) enter the state tournament next week still undefeated.
Graham Johnstone's early goal was enough for the second-seeded Bears, who used defense and goalkeeper Adam Gibbs to keep the trophy in the land of brown and white. Stonington is the ECC champ for the second straight season.
"In early August, the kids decided this was one of the goals they wanted to set," Stonington coach Paul deCastro said, moments after getting the water bucket treatment. "This wasn't easy. Give Ledyard a lot of credit. They really made it difficult. They put a lot of pressure on us."
But it was Stonington's early pressure that was enough. Cam Whalen's throw-in toward the net created what Johnstone later called a "cluster." Ledyard goalkeeper Ken Turner made two outstanding saves, but then there was Johnstone for the rebound.
"I was lucky enough to be there to tap it in," Johnstone said, not long after receiving the Most Valuable Player plaque.
Johnstone scored twice in the semifinals, too.
"I wasn't thinking about scoring," he said. "I don't go into games thinking I'm going to score. I go in thinking we're going to win."
The early goal wasn't necessarily unusual for the Bears, although they've been playing from behind in recent games against Bacon Academy and Lyman Memorial.
"We don't want to concede anything, especially early," deCastro said. "The early goal in this game was a big bonus."
And so now the Bears and Colonels in this tournament, both compete in Class M.
"I told the kids they can remember this as a 1-0 loss or they can remember the entire week," Ledyard coach Bill Glenney said. "We were the eight seed. We weren't supposed to be here. We just played the No. 2 team in the state and made them earn it. To keep them to one goal ... if you had said they were only going to get one goal before the game, I'd have signed for it right there."
Stonington enters the tournament with no losses and a tie to Waterford.
"Undefeated means nothing," Johnstone said. "We've got to go and go as hard as we can."
• Kennedy Davignon (twice), Aislin Tracy, Ivy Gelhaus and Emma Redfield scored goals eight minutes apart as third-seeded Woodstock Academy won the girls' title, 6-0 over No. 1 Plainfield. The game was scoreless at halftime until the Centaurs exploded early in the second half.
2017 ECC SOCCER AWARDS / BOYS AND GIRLS
Following are the 2017 Eastern Connecticut Conference award winners in boys' and girls' soccer:
First team — Alec Kosinski (East Lyme), Trevor Hutchins (Ledyard), Nathan Cherenzia (NFA), Nick Esposito (East Lyme), Ian Kamperschroer (Ledyard), Alexander Jacobik (NFA), Nate McCracken (Ledyard), Nick Tricarico (East Lyme), Tyler Cady (Fitch), Jonathan Synott (NFA), Wes Jacey (Fitch).
Honorable mention — Caleb Robbins (Fitch), Conrad French (East Lyme), Cal Jacey (Fitch), Eric Leuchner (Fitch), Jack Woodruff (Ledyard), Cesar Amaya (New London), Jair Trigoso (NFA), Gianluca Mazzi (East Lyme), Keshav Garcia-Petal (Fitch), Brandon Donovan (Ledyard), Sean Heaney (East Lyme).
Sportsmanship — Luke Wojcik (East Lyme), Andrew Kerst (Fitch), Chris Charette (Ledyard), Guiseppe Conte (New London), Kirk Ricketts (NFA).
Scholar-athlete — Conrad French (East Lyme), Calvin Jacey (Fitch), Berkely Wachtmann (Ledyard), Chris Alemania (New London), Nathan Cherenzia (NFA).
First team — Ethan Rose (Montville), Jacopo Ambrosetti (Woodstock), Shane Smith (Stonington), Jamison Magowan (Stonington), Brent Rutchick (Waterford), Jack Gelhaus (Woodstock), R.J. Parilla (Stonington), Cam Whalen (Stonington), James Gregg (Waterford), Cole Hackett (Woodstock), Adam Gibbs (Stonington).
Honorable mention — Graham Johnstone (Stonington), Harrison Hoops (Stonington), Robbie Negahban (Waterford), Tyler Velazquez (Montville), Tyler Fidrych (Stonington), Jason Kilcoyne (Stonington), Harrison Searle (Waterford), Ethan Holcomb (Woodstock), Stephen Wetherell (Killingly), Joseph Andrews (Montville), Will Hardy (Stonington), Jose Zuniga (Montville).
Sportsmanship — Zach Sedor (Bacon), Griffin Ware (Killingly), Karl Siismets (Montville), Luke Monteiro (Stonington), Austin Abate (Waterford), William Schad (Woodstock).
Scholar-athlete — Will Pipicelli (Bacon), Zach Schena (Killingly), Ethan Rose (Montville), Adam Gibbs (Stonington), Logan Bowdish (Waterford), Ethan Werstler (Woodstock).
First team — Mason Rubino (Griswold), Daniel Castro (Windham), Alfonso Vazquez (Windham), Lucas Logan (Griswold), Zach Allard (Lyman Memorial), Brandon Sirois (Lyman), Kayden Parilla (Windham), Spencer Merritt (Lyman), Ryan Condon (Wheeler), Jaden Calixto (Windham), Keaton Barry (Plainfield).
Honorable mention — Drew Archer (Lyman), Zack Lewis (Plainfield), Scott Pion (Wheeler), Matt Ladd (Griswold), Tenzin Jamphel (St. Bernard), Ellis Phillips-Gallucci (Windham), Josh Perry (Lyma), Seth Jones (Wheeler), Alex Korczynski (Windham), Konner Gleason (Griswold), Bowen Baker (Wheeler).
Sportsmanship — Matt Ladd (Griswold), Hilts Housen-Berglind (Lyman), Ryan LaPiere (Plainfield), Hunter Baillargeon (St. Bernard), Joe Bogoslofski (Tourtellotte), Cody Johnson (Wheeler), Nathan Perez-Espitia (Windham).
Scholar-athlete — Lucas Logan (Griswold), Jack Anderson (Lyman), Keaton Barry (Plainfield), Jack O'Leary (St. Bernard), Joe Bogoslofski (Tourtellotte), Ryan Condon (Wheeler), Alex Korczynski (Windham).
First team — Forwards: Kayla Park (NFA), Karlie Rowe (East Lyme); Midfielders: Juliette Hogan (NFA), Alivia Catanzaro (East Lyme), Alison Van Volkenberg (Ledyard), Madison Lynch (Fitch); Backs: Jessica Bryan (NFA), Natalia Hogan (NFA), Isabelle Riker (East Lyme), Effie Petropoulos (Fitch); Goalkeeper: Hayley Sorrentino (East Lyme).
Honorable mention — Megan Larmann (Ledyard), Natalie Dionne (NFA), Angelina Venditti (East Lyme), Delaney Gagnon (Ledyard), Alex Chambers (East Lyme), Olivia Crawford (Ledyard).
Sportsmanship — Emma Locklear (East Lyme), Danielle McIlquham (Fitch), Julia Lavin (Ledyard), Cassidy White (NFA).
Scholar-athlete — Georgia Parsons (East Lyme), Danielle McIlquham (Fitch), Julia Paul (Ledyard), Haley Warzecha (NFA).
First team — Forwards: Lauren Velazquez (Montville), Molly Kelly (Bacon), Ivy Gelhaus (Woodstock); Midfielders: Abbie Burgess (Killingly), Jacklyn Lavoie (Waterford), Natalie Sedor (Bacon), Kennedy Davignon (Woodstock); Backs: Julia Florek (Waterford), Lainnie Connor (Stonington), Jessica Savage (Bacon); Goalkeeper: Hannah Corsa (Bacon).
Honorable mention — Taylor Jax (Killingly), Madison Beaupre (Montville), Kara Beaupre (Montville), Lauren Ross (Montville), Molly McLoughlin (Bacon), Grace Nichols (Killingly), Jenna Banta (Montville), Anna Goldberg (Bacon), Brynn Kusnarowis (Woodstock), Irene Askitis (Woodstock), Oliva Meehan (Montville).
Sportsmanship — Addey LePage (Bacon), Sarah Azizi (Killingly), Emily Meigs (Montville), Emily Novak (Stonington), Meah Zerio (Waterford), Linda St. Laurent (Woodstock).
Scholar-athlete — Heather O'Donal (Bacon), Felicia Horne (Killingly), Madison Beaupre (Montville), Emma Sabbadini (Stonington), Meah Zerio (Waterford), Linda St. Laurent (Woodstock).
First team — Forwards: Izzy Newbury (Plainfield), Emily Smith (St. Bernard), Cassie Carleson (Plainfield); Midfielders: Kate Carleson (Plainfield), Alexis Price (Plainfield), Maegan Roy (Tourtellotte), Emma Morgan (Wheeler); Backs: Madison Murphy (Lyman Memorial), Tamia McBride (Windham), Mia Londregan (St. Bernard); Goalkeeper: Briana Beverly (St. Bernard).
Honorable mention — Kaylee Jackson (Tourtellotte), Hayley Rich (Lyman), Hailey Tompkins (Lyman), Nicole Bibeau (Lyman), Victoria Hannaford (St. Bernard), Sarah Forrester (St. Bernard), Katey Kwasniewski (Tourtellotte), Marissa Flores (Plainfield), Morgan Casey (Griswold), Lauren Ramos (Tourtellotte), Emily Moran (Plainfield), Amanda Sears (Lyman), Emily Tartsinis (Windham).
Sportsmanship — Makenna Perry (Griswold), Hailey Tompkins (Lyman), Kristen Sizer (Plainfield), Brooke Paradis (St. Bernard), Katey Kwasniewski (Tourtellotte), Gracie Anderson (Wheeler), Hannah Brule (Windham).
Scholar-athlete — Caitlyn Shetland (Griswold), Nicole Bibeau (Lyman), Stephanie Cooper (Plainfield), Maegan Roy (Tourtellotte), Emma Morgan (Wheeler), Jennifer Perez (Windham).
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