One goal and a whole lot of defense propelled the Glastonbury High School boys' soccer team to its fourth Class LL championship in five years, in the match against Naugatuck at Willow Brook Park in New Britain on Nov. 18.
Naugatuck, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, and Glastonbury, the No. 2 seed, played to a scoreless tie for the first half of the game, both teams getting opportunities, but not being able to convert.
With 17:41 left in the game, a crossing pass hit several players in front of the goal, and bounced toward Glastonbury's senior striker Sebby Sanzaro, who was able to cleanly put it in the top corner.
"There was a cross and a lay-off," Sanzaro said. "I was right there to finish it - upper right corner."
Sanzaro has scored in each of the Tomahawks' tournament games. He had also spent several games on the sidelines with injury during the regular season, returning three games before the playoffs began.
Coach Mark Landers said Sanzaro had been key to the team's recent success, as well as that of the past four years.
Landers said the reason his team didn't score earlier may have been big game jitters.
"I think the state championship day got us a little rattled in the first 25, and then we started to settle in with about 15 left in the first half, and started to find a little bit of rhythm, and that was key," he said, adding that the plan was to get the ball to Sanzaro.
"We wanted to try to possess and hopefully break something," Landers said. "If he gets away one time, he can hurt you. But, there was a lot of hard work in that box to keep that ball alive and get it to him. He's just been amazing. He comes up big again today."
After Glastonbury took the lead, Landers said he was thinking about the Class M game that took place on the same field just before the Class LL match. In that game, Suffield had a 2-1 lead, but Lewis Mills tied the game with 15 minutes to go, and scored the winning goal with just 10 seconds left in the match.
"You've got to play it all the way to the end," Landers said. "We talk about every inch and every second mattering."
In fact, Naugatuck did take several shots on goal late, including several set plays, but goalie Bennett Cole and the defense held.
In the tournament, Glastonbury did not surrender a goal, notching clean sheets for Cole, who also had six shutouts in the regular season.
"Bennett came up with a huge save. He's been a tremendous goalkeeper for us," Landers said. "It starts with him back there, and goes straight up to everyone on the team."
For a complete playoff bracket, visit www.ciacsports.com.
For more photos, visit www.courant.com/community/glastonbury.