Fairfield Ludlowe boys soccer advances with state playoff win over East Haven
The Fairfield Ludlowe boys soccer team was thoroughly dominant in its Class L state playoff game on Tuesday.
Fortunately for the Falcons, in this year's game, Ludlowe settled the game before overtime.
Senior Casper Gimand tallied the lone goal of the game in the 69th minute as No. 16 seed Ludlowe upended No. 17 East Haven, 1-0 at Taft Field.
"Overall I'm very happy with the boys," Ludlowe head coach Kevin O'Hara said. "We just want to win and survive."
The goal was especially sweet for Gimand as the senior was suspended from last year's state playoff game due to a red card. The Falcons were equally dominant in their game a year ago, but fell in penalty kicks to Bacon Academy.
"It was really nice," Gimand said. "We worked hard last week and it was nice that this could pay off for a win."
Ludlowe held the Yellowjackets shotless for the game, even without senior captain Joey Sisca who was suspended for a red card in the team's final regular season game.
"Our defense did a great job even with Joey being out," O'Hara said.
However, the Falcons could not beat East Haven goalkeeper Tyler Piche for in nearly the first 70 minutes of game action. Piche was aided by his defense which twice stopped Ludlowe from scoring goals with goal line saves.
Gimand also had an opportunity earlier in the 16th minute when his shot appeared to glance the net. The officials ruled that the ball hit the crossbar and that a goal had not been scored.
The Falcons had opportunities in the second half as well as Fernando Pabon had a run in the 48th minute, but blasted his shot over the net.
"I thought we had a lot of good opportunities to score," Gimand said. "Finally we capitalized."
Ludlowe's coach was confident that, despite the blown chances, the Falcons would score before penalty kicks became an option
"There was no doubt in my mind that we would get one," he said.
O'Hara was pleased with the opportunities that his squad generated, but was disconcerted by the Falcons' lack of urgency as the game progressed.
"There wasn't a sense of urgency," O'Hara said. "We were making great plays, but were not finishing. It's not who makes the most plays, it's who finishes."
Ludlowe finally scored in the 69th minute as Gimand and Pabon teamed up for a terrific play. Gimand sent the ball wide to Pabon, who sent a cross back to the box for Gimand who beat Piche for the go-ahead goal.
The Falcons took on the No. 1 seed Platt Tech yesterday in a game that ended too late for press time. If Ludlowe came out victorious, the Falcons will play again tomorrow against either Torrington or East Lyme at a site to be determined.