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Bonus factoids, footage and words from the Middletown Press sports desk.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

FOOTBALL: Masuk def. Middletown in Class L quarterfinals, 21-14

STRATFORD — For the first 24 minutes, it was all working.
Dario Highsmith and Isaiah Thompkins were moving the ball on the ground. The Middletown defense didn’t give an inch. And in its first playoff game since 2007, Middletown cruised into halftime with a 14-0 lead.
But it didn’t last.
Masuk turned to senior backs Tom Milone and Frank Bacarella in the second half, stuffed the backfield in a full-house running formation and scored 21 unanswered points in a comeback win in the Class L quarterfinals against Middletown Wednesday at Bunnell High School, 21-14.
“We self-destructed,” Middletown coach Sal Morello said. “Not to take anything away from Masuk — they took advantage.”
Masuk, Class L champion in 2010, advances to a Sunday semifinal with unbeaten Daniel Hand, which defeat Platt 55-26 in its quarterfinal Wednesday.
Trailing by two scores, Masuk quarterback Malik Cummings led a 52-yard drive with 6 minutes left in the third quarter that ended in a one-yard touchdown run by Joseph DaMota.
Middletown went three and out on its next possession, then Masuk drove again (sparked by a 44-yard run from Milone) and found paydirt on a four-yard run by Bacarello.
Masuk missed the extra point, but pulled within one point as the third quarter ended at 14-13.
The teams buckled down for the first 8 minutes of the fourth quarter before Middletown penalties helped Masuk prolong a late drive.
First, an incidental facemask gave the Panthers five yards. Then, on fourth down and six in the red zone, the Blue Dragon defense had a false start. The penalty pushed Masuk to the two-yard line, where DaMota punched in his second rushing touchdown of the night.
Milone ran in the two-point conversion, and Masuk led 21-14 with three minutes left.
Middletown turned the ball over on downs as the clock wound below 2 minutes, and the Masuk offense kept the ball on the ground until the final buzzer sounded.
“We didn’t panic,” Masuk coach John Murphy said. “We thought we were in pretty good shape at halftime, even though we were down 14. We made some mistakes, but we knew if we cleaned up those little things we’d be in good shape.”
“We didn’t play a good second half,” Morello said. “We didn’t put them away. You’ve got to play all 48 minutes.”

-Joe Pelletier

Saturday, November 17, 2012

FIELD HOCKEY: Haddam-Killingworth shuts out Stonington to win Class S state title

WETHERSFIELD — Patsy Kamercia has carried the torch as Haddam-Killingworth’s field hockey coach for 37 years.

Saturday, her Cougars carried her off the field as a state champion.

Freshman keeper Meghan Cerino made a dozen dazzling saves, teammate Taylor Burger stopped a pair of shots on the goal line and H-K won the Class S state title in a 2-0 shutout win against Stonington at Cottone Field.

When it was all said and done, the team lifted its longtime coach in the air with the championship plaque, celebrating the first outright state title for H-K since 1994.
“Yes, that’s a first,” Kamercia smiled after her feet returned to the turf field.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

GIRLS SOCCER: Trumbull sinks Mercy in LL quarter, 3-1

MIDDLETOWN — With time running out on Mercy’s season, Sheena Landy put everything she could behind a late corner kick — trying to will the Tigers back from a two-goal deficit.
She almost did.
Mercy’s senior leader blasted a line-drive corner into the back of the net and sent the Tiger faithful into a frenzy, pulling Mercy within one goal of Trumbull late in the second half Wednesday. But it wasn’t enough.
Trumbull responded with a last-minute goal and escaped Tiger Field with a 3-1 win in the Class LL quarterfinals, advancing to a rematch of last year’s title game with top-seeded Glastonbury Saturday in the semifinals.
It was Mercy’s first appearance in a state tournament quarterfinal since 2008.
Read the full story here.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

STATE TOURNEY CENTRAL: Keep an eye on area teams

Game on, y'all.

State tournament play is underway, and I'm keeping an eye on Middletown, Mercy, Xavier and the area's Shoreline Conference teams. Is there a soon-to-be state champion in our midst? I wouldn't bet against it.

Girls volleyball

Class L: No. 6 Mercy (see draw here)
Class S: No. 8 East Hampton, No. 14 Haddam-Killingworth, No. 15 Valley Regional (see draw here)
What to watch: East Hampton's my sleeper in Class S, but the Bellringers will have to get through perennial state champion Coventry in the quarters. Tough draw. Shoreline foes Valley and Morgan meet up for the fourth time this season in the 2nd round, while H-K has to get through No. 3 Holy Cross. In Class L, Mercy has a decent shot to meet No. 2 RHAM in the quarters.

Girls soccer

Class LL: No. 2 Middletown, No. 4 Mercy (see draw here)
Class M: No. 7 Haddam-Killingworth, No. 19 Coginchaug, No. 26 Valley Regional (see draw here)
Class S: No. 3 Portland, No. 10 East Hampton, No. 20 Cromwell (see draw here)
What to watch: The most enticing draw is Class LL, where two of the top four seeds hail from Middletown. Neither Middletown nor Mercy, however, have an easy draw. Top-seeded Glastonbury looms in Mercy's half of the bracket, and Middletown has to worry about the Naugatuck-Manchester winner in the second round. In Class S, Shoreline champion Portland is always dangerous. Look for the Highlanders in the final four.

Boys soccer

Class LL: No. 18 Xavier (see draw here)
Class L:  No. 22 Middletown (see draw here)
Class S: No. 1 Valley Regional, No. 2 Hale-Ray, No. 8 East Hampton, No. 22 Cromwell, No. 24 Coginchaug (see draw here)
What to watch: SLC finalists Valley and Hale-Ray are the top two seeds in the Class S draw. Seeing the teams meet again in the state final is a stretch, but this could be Valley's year for a title. A run from Xavier would require a win against No. 2 Amity in the second round, and Middletown has a shot at Bethel in the 1st round.

Field hockey

Class M: No. 15 Mercy (see draw here)
Class S: No. 4 Haddam-Killingworth (see draw here)
What to watch: H-K is a perennial bracket-buster, but the Cougars have a tough road in Class S. They'll likely see Northwest Catholic and top-seeded Lauralton Hall in the next few games. In Class M, Mercy could do a little bracket-busting as well. The Tigers play at No. 2 Nonnewaug today.

Check out all the brackets here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

PICS: Mercy vs. Amity girls volleyball, SCC semifinal








Sunday, November 4, 2012

SHORELINE CENTRAL: Saturday scores, updates

All kinds of scores from Saturday games, including two teams punching their first tickets to a Shoreline title game (Portland girls soccer, Hale-Ray boys soccer). Here's the skinny:


GIRLS SOCCER

Semifinals
No. 1 Portland def. No. 4 East Hampton, 1-0 (OT)
No. 3 Old Lyme def. No. 2 H-K, 2-1
Championship game — Monday, Nov. 5 at Indian River Complex (Clinton)
Portland vs. Old Lyme, 5 p.m.


BOYS SOCCER

Semifinals
No. 2 Hale-Ray def. No. 1 East Hampton, 1-0
No. 1 Valley def. No. 4 Old Saybrook, 3-0
Championship game — Monday, Nov. 5 at Indian River Complex (Clinton)
Hale-Ray vs. Valley, 7 p.m.


GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Quarterfinals
No. 3 H-K def. No. 6 Old Lyme, 3-0
No. 4 Valley def. No. 5 Coginchaug, 3-0
Semifinals — Monday, Nov. 5
Valley at No. 1 Morgan, 6 p.m.
H-K vs. No. 2 East Hampton (at Mercy), 6 p.m.
Championship game — Wednesday, Nov. 3 at Cromwell High School
Semifinal winners, 6 p.m.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

GIRLS SOCCER: Portland beats East Hampton, advances to 1st Shoreline final (updated)

By Joe Pelletier
Sports Editor
PORTLAND — An ecstatic Portland bench swarmed the field, hugging anyone in Highlander red. Coach Sandy Booth gave a celebratory shout and a Tiger-like fist pump.
Once again in this historic season for Portland girls soccer, the Highlanders have reached a new high.
Junior Jackie Otake scored the winning goal with two minutes left in overtime as Portland advanced to its first Shoreline Conference title game with a 1-0 win against East Hampton in the semifinals Saturday at Portland High School.
Portland will play Old Lyme in the championship game Monday at 5 p.m at the Indian River Complex in Clinton.

Read the full story here.

Friday, November 2, 2012

PICS: Mercy vs. Shelton girls soccer, SCC semifinal



























 pictures by Catherine Avalone

Shoreline Conference tournament schedule


GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
Quarterfinals — Saturday, Nov. 3 at higher seed
No. 6 Old Lyme at No. 3 H-K, 5 p.m.
No. 5 Coginchaug at No. 4 Valley, 5 p.m.
Semifinals — Monday, Nov. 5
Coginchaug/Valley winner at No. 1 Morgan, 6 p.m.
Old Lyme/H-K winner vs. No. 2 East Hampton (at Mercy), 6 p.m.
Championship game — Wednesday, Nov. 3 at Cromwell High School
Semifinal winners, 6 p.m.

GIRLS SOCCER
Semifinals — Saturday, Nov. 3
No. 4 East Hampton at No. 1 Portland, 1 p.m.
No. 2 H-K at No. 3 Old Lyme, 1 p.m.
Championship game — Monday, Nov. 5 at Indian River Complex (Clinton)
Semifinal winners, 5 p.m.

BOYS SOCCER
Semifinals — Saturday, Nov. 3 at higher seed
No. 3 East Hampton at No. 2 Hale-Ray, 6 p.m.
No. 4 Old Saybrook at No. 1 Valley, 2 p.m.
Championship game — Monday, Nov. 5 at Indian River Complex (Clinton)
Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.