Barlow boys soccer ousts Harding
BRIDGEPORT — The Barlow boys soccer team has turned things around at just the right time.
The Falcons, who were coming off a lackluster regular season by their lofty standards and missed the conference playoffs, have put those disappointments behind them to go 2-for-2 so far in the Class L state tournament after defeating CSC champion Harding 5-1 in the second round Thursday at Kennedy Stadium.
Barlow, the No. 13 seed, advances to the state quarterfinals where the Falcons will host SWC foe and No. 28 seed New Fairfield, a 1-0 winner in the quarters over No. 21 East Lyme, on Saturday at 2 p.m. The two teams tied 0-0 during the season.
Against No. 4 Harding (14-4-2), the Falcons netted four goals in a 24-minute span of the first half and kept the Presidents at bay the rest of the game.
Barlow head coach Paul Winstanley said his team still has some improvements to make ahead of Saturday’s game and noted the Falcons had an edge on Harding going in after securing a 6-0 win over the Presidents in non-league play in September.
“We knew Harding was going to want some payback obviously and we got them on a big grass field last time and they weren’t ready for that because I knew they were a quality team,” he said. “We got the goals and got up quick, but we weren’t very happy in my opinion because it was more of Harding making mistakes than we were playing brilliantly.”
The flurry of first-half activity started when Pablo Correa Ramirez scored off a rebound following a long throw in by Ian Chapin just 2:53 into the game.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” said Correa Ramirez, who led the team with two goals. “It propel;ed us to go forward more and thankfully got us going to get four more goals. It was a good game and we played well as a team.”
Over a five-minute stretch, the Falcons netted three straight, starting with Grayson DiMiceli’s strike from Anthony Paolini (19:42) and followed by Anthony Rizzo’s shot off a pass from Chapin that hit the post and trickled over the line (21:46) and John Faley’s goal off another throw-in by Chapin (23:37) to make it 4-0.
“We’re feeling really good,” said Chapin of Barlow’s late-season surge. “We underperformed this season and had a lot of injuries, but now everyone is back healthy and playing well, so we’re hoping to make the championship.”
Harding’s lone highlight occurred at 37:01 when Darnell Ellis converted a penalty kick to cut the lead to 4-1. The Presidents, who captured their second straight CSC title this season, had some scoring chances in the second half but their shots were wide of the target.
“It was a tough game,” Harding coach Anthony Bonaventura said. “Our kids came in a little intimidated because we played them this year and they had our number, which played into our kids’ minds. In the first half we came out slow and they (Barlow) capitalized. They are a great team, very technical, but I was pleased with how we played in the second half.”
BARLOW 5, HARDING 1
BARLOW 4 1—5
Records: Barlow 8-4-5; Harding 14-4-2. Goals: B—Pablo Correa Ramirez (2), Grayson DiMiceli, Anthony Rizzo, John Faley. H—Darnell Ellis. Assists: B—Ian Chapin (2), Anthony Paolini (2). Goalies: B—Jackson Stalowir (2 saves); H—Alexis Hidalgo (6), David Tista (2).