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Historic season comes to and end for Wolcott Tech boys soccer. Story by John Nestor.
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TORRINGTON - Good chances were few and far between in Monday's second round Class M state tournament matchup between Wolcott Tech and Killingly so in the end the team that caught that one break was going to win.
That one break came in the second half and went Killingly's way.
Alex Mayo scored the game's lone goal early in the second half and the Redmen made it stand to post a 1-0 victory over the Wildcats at Wolcott Tech High School.
With the win, Killingly (10-8) advances to a third round matchup with third-seeded Suffield (16-1) on Wednesday. Wolcott Tech ends its season at 12-5-1.
The game-winner came about eight minutes into the second half on a failed clear by the Wildcats. Mayo won control of the ball and pushed it ahead forcing goalie Francesco Chiaravalloti to come out and cut off the angle. Mayo and Chiaravalloti raced for the ball with Mayo winning by a hair, giving him enough time to flip up a shot over a diving Chiaravalloti.
The ball rolled into the net and gave the Redmen a 1-0 lead.
"It was a breakway so I came out to cut off the angle and when I slid he did what any good striker would do and popped it up and he hit it just right," Chiaravalloti said. "He deserved it, it was a good goal."
And it was the only goal despite the Wildcats' best attempts at putting on the pressure.
With the lead, Killingly switched things up a bit and moved Mayo into the defensive end to preserve the lead and while there were a couple anxious moments, the move worked.
"Alex Mayo is a really good player and he plays both defense and forward for us," Killingly coach Roland Frechette said. "When it gets to the point where we are locking it down, that's what he does.'
Wolcott Tech made a similar move to start tha game as coach Paul Bazzano started senior Justin Tharau in a more defensiev position to keep the game under control.
The No. 27 Redmen entered the game coming off a 2-1 victory over No. 6 Abbott Tech in the first round. Wolcott Tech lost to Abbott Tech in the regular season so Bazzano wanted to make sure Killingly did not get off to a fast start against his club.
"The game was very evenly matched but coming in I wasn't sure what to expect and I ended up making a lineup change and putting Justin in the back to keep things on ice for a while and it worked out nicely in the first half," Bazzano said. "Second half once they got that goal I put him back to center-mid."
With Tharau trying to orchestrate the offense, the Wildcats were able to put some pressure on the Redmen, who lost starting goalie Greg Phillips to a shoulder injury after a collision with Wolcott Tech's Kevin Tran as they were both going for a loose ball in the box.
Wolcott Tech's best chance came off a corner in the final minutes as Mike Chiaravalloti delivered a nice ball into the box and Jesse Christiano got a head on it but his attempt went just over the cross bar.
That was pretty much the Wildcats' last shot at tying things up and a strong campaign came to an end.
"We had a good season, we were able to get some wins and build off of that in our practices," Bazzano said. "It feels good to have some success and I was able to click with the group I have this year and the seniors I had this year were a strong bunch and key players."
Despite the loss of some key players, the Wildcats still appear to have a bright future and the program is heading in the right direction, over the years evolving from Berkshire League doormat to a double-digit win team that posted a playoff win and hosted a pair of playoff games.
"We'll have about 10 juniors coming back and we have a good thing to look forward to next year," Bazzano said. "We have eveolved little by little over the years since I have been here and now have a legitimate program as opposed to a recreational feel that there was when I first started here. We're heading in the right direction and need to keep on building on that."