Sebby Sanzaro’s early score proved to be the difference as Glastonbury edged Farmington 1-0 in the CIAC Class LL boys soccer semifinals Monday night at Veterans Stadium at Willow Brook Park in New Britain, eliminating the defending state champion while earning the Tomahawks a chance at the ultimate prize.
“It was one of those games you’ll never forget for the rest of your life,” Sanzaro said. “As a senior, I’m trying to get the team hyped, and it was important to start strong with the first goal.”
Glastonbury advanced to compete for the school’s fourth state title in the last five years, having won consecutively from 2013 to 2015, and qualified at the expense of longtime rival Farmington. The teams’ last postseason meeting was a 2-1 Glastonbury win in overtime in the 2014 Class LL final.
“There were some anxious moments, but we’re happy to be moving on,” Glastonbury coach Mark Landers said. “I’m really proud of our guys to come in here and play so well against a team with that pedigree and everything Coach Waters has done with that program.”
Sanzaro was part of the most recent two championship teams, but missed half his senior year with an MCL injury.
“Sebby worked really hard to get back, and he’s had a nice run in the tournament with a goal in every game,” Landers said. “His experience helps our locker room.”
After controlling possession throughout the first half, Glastonbury’s defense went to work in the second half, surviving two Farmington corner kicks in the final five minutes. Amid freezing temperatures, friends, family and fans of both teams filed into Veterans Stadium and roared with dueling chants.
“It was a pretty defensive battle as you’d expect with these teams,” Landers said. “[The rivalry] is great for high school soccer, Hartford County and Connecticut, and we want to promote the game as much as we can.”
Glastonbury (16-2-1), the second seed, will face No. 1 Naugatuck, which beat Norwalk 1-0 in overtime Monday, in the Class LL final Friday or Saturday at a location and time to be determined. Glastonbury has not allowed a goal this postseason.
Farmington (14-3-3) finished one win shy of the opportunity to defend its 2016 title. Two of the team’s three losses came against Glastonbury.
“Nobody knows which play is going to be their play of the game,” Farmington coach Steve Waters said. “When it comes to Farmington and Glastonbury, you learn to compete, and at the end, it takes a lot of courage to win.”
Waters said his team was unlucky to not score on several late opportunities in the second half, including what looked to be a sure-fire tying score that was headed off by Glastonbury’s Mike Bernardi at the goal line with under 20 minutes to play.
“We had a game plan that the guys worked really well, but we talked about stepping up sooner at halftime,” Waters said. “When you get to the end, it’s a one-play game.”
Farmington was aiming for its sixth state championship in the last ten years, having won the Class LL title in 2016, 2010 and 2008 along with Class L titles in 2012 and 2013.
“Their ability to maintain composure and compete was outstanding,” Waters said. “They know it’s a one-game tournament and that the end of our season is either a dramatic victory or a dramatic loss.”