Old Lyme boys rally to tie reigning Class S champ Old Saybrook
Old Lyme — Ryan Tetreault, Old Lyme High School's acrobatic senior goalie, is the only current member of the team to have ever played in a Shoreline Conference tournament or Class S state tournament.
"He wants the rest of these young men to make it to the tournament," Old Lyme first-year coach Ally Gleason said. "Sometimes, you might not get to do it at all."
And Old Lyme couldn't have a better representative to will them to victory. Or a perfectly satisfying tie in this case.
Tetreault finished with 12 saves Tuesday, two of his more dazzling ones in the final 47 seconds, as Old Lyme's boys' soccer team remained unbeaten with a 1-1 tie against defending Class S champion Old Saybrook.
Avery Welch scored the game-tying goal against the generally faster, more physical Old Saybrook team with 9 minutes, 37 seconds remaining and Tetreault withstood a barrage of shots from there, saving a corner kick with 30 seconds remaining to preserve the tie. Shoreline Conference rules do not allow for overtime.
Old Lyme, following back-to-back seasons in which the Wildcats were a combined 4-23-5, are 3-0-1 this season with three shutouts, allowing only the goal to Old Saybrook on a defensive miscommunication.
And Old Saybrook is a team Gleason scouted in a 4-1 win Saturday over Newtown, a game in which Old Saybrook played so perfectly it left her somewhat in awe.
"They really, really play so disciplined, the way they play their formation," Gleason said. "After you make a mistake, that's when they move and capitalize on it. I was blown away."
Old Saybrook started with a lead in the first half, too, dominating play against the Wildcats.
The Rams scored 17:56 into the game to make it 1-0. Tetreault came out of the goal at the same time an Old Lyme defender passed the ball back to him and Old Saybrook's Jack Colella raced behind the goalie to put the ball away.
Gleason, realizing the Old Lyme offense hadn't formulated much of a threat in the first half, changed things up at halftime, moving her outside mids and outside defenders forward a bit to help with the attack.
Welch, who hadn't been feeling well during the second half, remaining on the bench until there were about 15 minutes remaining, had the Wildcats' best opportunity and converted. Mike Milazzo passed it Welch in the corner and he dribbled in from the left side of the goal, unleashing a shot to the left corner with his left foot.
"I think we just got lackadaisical," said Old Saybrook coach Sam Barnes, who has 17 seniors returning from last year's state championship team. "We got content with a 1-0 lead. It was a wakeup call. Hopefully we can get it sorted out."
"It feels great," said Tetreault, who plans to play lacrosse in college and not soccer despite being a three-year starter in soccer. "We lost to them 8-1 (in 2017). It's definitely been more of a team this year. We're playing a lot better."
Gleason, the former assistant coach for her father Paul on the Old Lyme girls' team which has won the last four Class S state championships, took over as coach of the boys' program at her alma mater earlier this year.
She said the players set modest goals: reaching the Shoreline and Class S state tournaments, which they haven't done since the 2016 season, and to be competitive with every team they play.
"It takes all 32 players (in the program). Win or lose, it's all 32, starters, subs, JV players, people who are injured," Gleason said. "I can't say enough what a phenomenal team this is."