Pictured: The Old Saybrook Rams again came away with a share of the Shoreline championship following a 1-1 tie against Morgan on Friday. (Photo by Paul Augeri)
By Paul Augeri
PORTLAND – For the third time this season, the Old Saybrook and Morgan boys soccer teams played to a 1-1 draw.
This time, the Shoreline Conference championship was on the line, which only served to magnify the lack of a celebration after the sides played through 30 minutes of scoreless overtime at Portland High School.
The Rams and Huskies shared the 2019 championship after playing to a 2-2 tie. The conference does not use the penalty-kick system to determine its champion.
“It sucks. It always feels like it’s a little bit stolen,” Morgan coach Ross Demay said after the Huskies took home at least a piece of the title for the fourth time in five years. “It’s not like we’re the worst team and just pulling it out. We thought we could come out and we could take it.”
The outcome kept Old Saybrook (15-0-3) unbeaten as it heads into the CIAC Class S tournament as the No. 2 seed and chasing a third straight championship. Coach Steve Waters said he was “satisfied” with the end result.
“Maybe more on our side because we finished out with no losses,” he said. “I did see some sad faces. The reason why there is sadness at the end is because there’s no sweetness (of victory).”
There was no give in either team through a scoreless first half and the first 32 minutes of the second.
In the 33rd, Morgan got on the board when Erik Barrera bombed a hard shot from about 30 yards that ticked off goalie Ryan Slisz’s hands.
Just 1:06 later, Old Saybrook sent a ball into traffic in the box on a restart and Bradley Kulmann sent a rebound past Huskies keeper Bailey Goss to tie the match.
“Our work ethic paid off for us,” Waters said. “Are you one play away (from winning)? Yeah, but that’s what this game is about. You’re three plays away from winning a game, and you don’t know which plays they’re gonna to be and you don’t know who it’s gonna be. And I’ll remind them of that Monday when we train. There are three plays in the game that make the difference.”
Goss was sensational in overtime with four saves in a four-minute stretch, launching himself parallel to the ground to make two stops.
“He came up big like he has all season,” Demay said.
Goss and Slisz finished with 13 saves each.
Morgan (12-2-4) is the 10th seed in the Class M tournament. The Huskies host Wolcott on Tuesday at 4pm at Indian River Complex in Clinton.
Old Saybrook has a bye into the second round in Class S and will host the Portland-Thomaston winner on Thursday (2pm).