The Rocky Hill boys’ soccer team has experienced several peaks and valleys this season. This past week was no different.
The Terriers kicked off the week on a high note, defeating rival Wethersfield 3-2 as they celebrated Senior Night on a bitter cold Tuesday evening.
“We struggle early in the season and we’ve had a couple of tough games lately, but we played with a lot of heart tonight. We came out and we did what we wanted to do,” said Rocky Hill senior captain David Scalise, “Everyone was ready and the game was everything I could ask for. Not just for Senior Night, but also for the Wethersfield-Rocky Hill rivalry. There’s nothing better, it was a fantastic night.”
The night belonged to Scalise and his fellow seniors, but it was junior James Chasco-DiMauro who put a double exclamation point on the night with a pair of goals, including the game-winner.
“It’s a surreal moment. I couldn’t do it without my teammates,” an elated Chasco-DiMauro said following the victory, “We put in a lot of hard work and we came out in the second half with a lot of heart. My teammates set me up with some good balls and I put them in.”
The game was scoreless at the half and as the tempuratures dipped in the second half, things heated up offensively on the field.
Wethersfield drew first blood when sophomore Dino Alihodzik found the back of the net just five minutes into the second frame.
Six minutes later, Chasco-DiMauro evened things up when the lefty drilled a kick past goaltender Enrico Gionfriddo.
Brendan Barry quickly regained the lead for the Eagles when he scored less than two minutes later, but the Terriers would tally the final two goals to hold off the visitors, who came in with a record of 8-4-1.
“It was great to come back from not only one goal, but come back twice in the second half,” added Scalise, “To come back to win was fantastic, I couldn’t be more proud.”
Ryan Fraleigh tied things up with 22 minutes to play in regulation when he booted a touch kick from the right hash from 25 yards outs, which found the left corner of the net.
After twenty minutes of swirling winds and flaring tempers, Chasco-DiMauro put the finishing touches on his tremendous evening when he blasted the game-winner with 1:42 to play.
“Last year they beat us 3-0, but this year we came back with a lot of heart and put them away,” said Chasco-DiMauro, “I’ve gotten more comfortable on the field this year and my teammates got me into a rhythm tonight.”
Following the game, Chasco-DiMauro’s teammates joked as they passed around the hand warmers he used in the game as if they were lucky rabbit’s feet.
“He’s had a big attitude shift and his confidence shift has been fantastic this season. He’s started to have a little more trust in the players and he stepped it up big time,” Scalise said about his junior teammate, “He’s been playing on an injured ankle, but he came out here tonight and gave it everything he had.”
Scalise, Fraleigh, and Salvatore Madera are the team captains. Nam Bui, Dario Kokic, Peter Lucente, JD Monaco, Anthony Pietrandrea, Giuseppe Russo, and goaltender Devyn Rockefeller round out the ten seniors that have stuck together through the ups and downs of the 2016 season.
Rockefeller has been stout in goal for the Terriers. He made several saves against Wethersfield, but none bigger than his sliding save he made when he came out to challenge a breakaway from Barry, keeping the deficit at 1-0. Chasco-DiMauro would score the equalizer moments later.
Rockefeller would have another good effort on Friday, allowing only one goal, but the goal was enough for Newington to defeat the Terriers 1-0 at Rocky Hill High School.
Michael Ganley broke a scoreless tie in the second half, scoring the game’s lone goal with 18:23 left in regulation. The game-deciding score was set up by offensive-maestro Joey Terranova, who found Ganley with a perfect lead pass.
“I saw Mike making a run and he’s one of our fastest kids,” said Terranova, “I knew he was going to finish it because he’s been working to get on the field and he’s been working hard in practice.”
The goal was a positive sign for a team that has struggled at times to put the ball in the back of the net.
“It really wasn’t working early on, but we’ve gotten into a groove and it’s all about confidence,” Terranova said about the team’s offense, “We have talented players out there and we’re capable. We’ve been like that the last few years, but we’re just showing it this year.”
The offense is coming along, but their defense has kept the Indians in contention. The team entered the week needing to win two of their final three games to qualify for the postseason. A 1-0 victory over Bristol Eastern and the shutout of Rocky Hill assured them a spot in the Class L tournament.
“It feels good to win this one. We had three games left and we knew we had to win at least two of them,” defensive captain Luke Gilchrest said, “Our defense was strong in the beginning of the year and the offense wasn’t as strong, so we have to switch it up a little bit and it’s been working.”
Covering the back end of the defense is Zachary Harmon, who blanked both opponents last week, upping his shutout total to six for the season.
“Everything starts with him. We know we have a rock back there. We have confidence in him and he keeps us in games. He’s an unbelievable athlete,” Terranova said about Harmon.
They’ll need Harmon to continue to play at a high level, because the tourney is right around the corner.
“We know it’s not going to be easy. We’re going to be one of the bottom seeds, but I think we can beat anyone because all the teams are equal this year,” added Gilchrest.
Gilchrest and Terranova are two of the 15 seniors that have formed a close bond and are glad to have the program back in the tournament following a two-year drought.
“We hang out a lot more this year than we did last year and I think that’s made all the difference,” said Terranova, “We have a lot more seniors this year and we’ve been playing together a long time. We’re a close group.”
Football Round Up
Rocky Hill Blanks Tolland
The Terriers scored on their first five possessions en route to a fourth straight win, blanking Tolland 41-0 last Friday night. Quarterback Danny Cavallaro ran for three touchdowns and threw another to Grant Nieves, who also added a score on the ground. Joe Catania scored the team’s other touchdown and the defense shutout their second opponent in their last four contests. The team will celebrate Senior Night at their regular season home finale next Friday, Nov 4 against RHAM. The festivities start at 6:30.
Newington Stuns Middletown
Quarterback Roberto Sanchez ran for a pair of touchdowns, including the go-ahead touchdown to help the Indians upset previously unbeaten Middletown 27-24 last Friday night. It was stunning victory for the Indians, who have now won two straight games after losing four of their first five. In defeat, Blue Dragons quarterback Tyshaun James scored three rushing touchdowns, increasing his season total to 15 on the ground and 23 total touchdowns.
Cromwell/Portland Takes Two
Due to scheduling changes, the Panthers were forced to play two games in a six-day span. The cramped schedule didn’t slow the team down, as they defeating Lewis Mills 28-8 last Monday and Canton 53-6 on Saturday. Senior Kristian Sapp scored eight total touchdowns in the two blowouts, helping improve the team to 6-0. The team has another quick turnaround, hosting Ellington this Thursday at Pierson Park for a 6 p.m. kick.
Wethersfield Falls To Windsor
The Eagles ran into another juggernaut last Friday night, losing to Windsor 19-14. The team has a chance to get the wagon back on the trail when they travel to Meriden, facing Maloney at Falcon Field on Friday. Kickoff is at 6:30.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin