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Fairfield Prep boys soccer team advances to Class LL semifinals

Updated 5:14 pm, Thursday, November 15, 2012

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  • Fairfield Prep's Austin Sims gets ready to kick the ball for a game-winning goal as Conard's Michael D'Arcy defends during overtime in the Class LL soccer quarterfinals Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 at Alumni Field on the campus of Fairfield University. Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut Post
    Fairfield Prep's Austin Sims gets ready to kick the ball for a game-winning goal as Conard's Michael D'Arcy defends during overtime in the Class LL soccer quarterfinals Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 at Alumni Field on the campus of Fairfield University. Photo: Autumn Driscoll

 

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Austin Sims was struggling.

Fairfield Prep's star forward hadn't scored since Oct. 23 -- a span of more than seven games -- and nearly was subbed midway through the Jesuits' Class LL quarterfinal against Conard Tuesday.

"We were thinking about subbing him," Prep coach Ryan Lyddy said. "He got us here and we had to keep him on the field."

And Sims made sure that decision was the right one.

The junior scored in the fifth minute of the second extra time period, lifting the third-seeded Jesuits over the 11th-seeded Chieftains 2-1 at Alumni Field.

"The whole playoffs, I haven't really been on my game," Sims said. "It was really nice to go out here and score a goal, especially a meaningful one like that one."

Stephen Tortora potted a penalty kick goal and Prep goalkeeper Will Steiner stopped six shots, amid jeers from the more than 150 Conard students who filled three school buses to root on the Chieftains.

"It was surprising to me that they had more kids at our home field than we did," Steiner said. "It was a fun environment. They were getting on my case ... it was all fun."

The Jesuits advanced to the state semifinals for the first time in school history. Prep will play either Greenwich Friday at 4 p.m. at New Canaan High School.

Matheus Souza scored Conard's lone goal. The Chieftains finished 14-5 -- finishing with their most wins since 1972.

"I have a team that doesn't ever quit and I'm proud of them," Conard coach Adam Linker said. "What this team accomplished -- although they're not going to accept it as a consolation because we just lost -- was more than 40 years worth of Conard soccer."

Sims' overtime goal snapped a 1-1 tie in the 95th minute. He took a long pass from freshman Chris Molina, outmuscled a Conard defender, then beat goalkeeper Neil Droney, whipping the Jesuit bench and student section into a frenzy.

"I was just very happy for him," Steiner said. "He hadn't scored in a little while. It was good for him to get that goal."

Steiner's kick save on Souza less than 90 seconds later helped save Prep. Conard senior Colin Wilkinson's rebound sailed over the goal.

"He is a superstar," Lyddy said of Steiner. "He was phenomenal."

Tortora's PK broke the ice in the 43rd minute. After a Jesuit was fouled in the box, the junior midfielder beat Droney to his left, putting Prep up 1-0.

Just 44 seconds later Souza tied the score. Conard's Samuel Turco headed a cross to his foot and the senior beat a lunging Steiner, making it 1-1.

"(Souza) hung off and ... had a good finish," Steiner said.

Besides Sims' goal, the Jesuits had the wealth of chances in overtime. Blake Roberts' chance, just 87 seconds into the extra session, sailed high.

"They had a lot more chances than us," Linker said. "We were on our heels the whole game."

ppickens@bcnnew.com; twitter.com/Pat_Pickens

Class LL quarterfinals

CONARD 0 1 0 0--1

FAIRFIELD PREP 0 1 0 1--2

Records: Conard 14-5; Fairfield Prep 19-2-1. Goals: C--Matheus Souza; FP--Austin Sims, Stephen Tortora. Assists: C--Samuel Turco; FP--Chris Molina. Goalies: C--Neil Droney (6 saves); FP--Will Steiner (6). Shots: C--7; FP--8.

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