No. 3 Stonington boys beat Tolland to reach Class M boys' soccer semis

Stonington — Jamison Magowan had so much to discuss Saturday afternoon, like his first goal 38 seconds into the game, or his second, that essentially cleared the path to the state semifinals.

But there he was, 364 days later, standing on the same turf, quite happy that neither he nor his teammates at Stonington High School allowed history a chance at replay.

It was in this game last season — the Class M state boys' soccer tournament quarterfinals — that the Bears' season ended against Ellington. But Saturday, playing a Tolland team they edged 2-1 in the second round last year, Stonington not only advanced, but walked off their home field for the last time triumphantly.

Stonington 2, Tolland 0.

The third-seeded Bears are in Class M's Final Four and will play No. 23 Plainville on Wednesday and a site and time to be determined. Plainville upset No. 2 Granby in a penalty kick shootout in its quarterfinal match.

"We just didn't want that feeling again," Magowan said, alluding to the pain of last season's exit. "It was a priority. We weren't going down on this field."

Magowan made sure of it. Before many butts were affixed to the bleachers, Magowan scored — into a vigorous wind — 38 seconds into the game.

"Coming in, I didn't expect the wind to be that big of a factor," Stonington coach Paul deCastro said. "I was a little nervous about (potentially) falling behind. A goal 38 seconds in, that's a dream start."

No. 11 Tolland, which had the wind at its back in the first half, managed but one quality opportunity. Some miscommunication in front of Stonington's goal allowed senior Ryan Sirois a virtually open net. But he rifled one too high, eluding the cross bar, but splitting the football uprights.

The Bears had the lead into the second half when Magowan found himself with a corner kick from left side. The fortuitous combination of skill and wind allowed the ball to bend beautifully toward the net ... and in.

"I've never done that before," Magowan said. "I was trying to go to the back post."

DeCastro admitted the play wasn't necessarily designed to be a goal off Magowan's foot. But then, he was quite pleased with the result. As were all the Bears.

When it was over, the Stonington players ran across the field to meet their sizable rooting section, all singing to Kenny Chesney and "The Boys of Fall."

The Boys of Fall get another chance in the semis on Wednesday, already having taken a step last year's team did not.

m.dimauro@theday.com

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