The Mercy and Xavier soccer teams are another step closer to playing for a state championship after winning their respective quarterfinal matches on Saturday at Larry McHugh Field.
Undefeated Xavier, the top seed in the Class LL tournament, used John Milardo’s goal in overtime to defeat No. 8 Darien 2-1. Darien scored 20 seconds into the match before the Falcons’ Ryan Gerry got the equalizer midway through the first half.
“We’ve got to play for one another. This is a family here,” Milardo, a senior, told the school’s website after the win. “Brady (Stevenson) got the ball at the top of the box and it ended up coming out. I just called for it, I was right in front of the goal and put it away. It felt great.”
The Falcons (19-0-2) advance to play Cheshire — for the fourth time this season – on Wednesday (5pm) at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury. Xavier beat Cheshire in the final seconds of OT to win the Southern Connecticut Conference championship, their third win over the Rams in 2021.
In the Class M girls tournament, No. 4 seed Mercy (18-2-2) beat No. 5 Weston 2-1 as sophomore and leading scorer Kate Donlan put away a penalty kick with 1:17 to go in regulation.
Freshman Laney Smith sent a cross to Donlan, who was taken down by a defender by behind to set up her biggest attempt of the season. This is Mercy’s fourth trip to a state semifinal and second under coach Marcus Harley.
The SCC champion Tigers, who haven’t won a state title, will face No. 9 Granby on Tuesday (5pm) at Willow Brook Park in New Britain.
“The girls are very excited,” Harley said. “They knew what was at stake. They want to be the first Mercy team to go past the semifinals and are very excited for this opportunity.”
After a 90-minute weather delay that began 20 minutes into the match, Abby Miles gave Weston (13-2-4) the lead at 27:21 and it stood up at halftime. Megan Menard’s goal 10 minutes into the second half, on an assist from Jules Yuris, tied it. Mercy keeper Melina Ford finished with 6 saves.
In the Class S girls tournament, Katie Farr scored in the opening minutes of overtime to send No. 12 Coginchaug to the semifinals with a 2-1 victory over No. 20 Coventry.
Coginchaug (12-4-2) will meet No. 20 Northwest Catholic on Tuesday (6:30pm) at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury. Northwest, which advanced with a 3-0 win over Lyman Memorial, beat the Blue Devils in the quarterfinal round in 2019.
Jenna DePonte scored in the first half to put the Blue Devils ahead against Coventry.
H-K football loses to CREC Co-Op
Cayden Ortiz scored on a 15-yard run in the third quarter and followed with a two-point conversion to provide the margin of victory for the CREC Co-Op in an 8-7 win over Haddam-Killingworth on Saturday.
Tate Callender scored for the Cougars on a 3-yard run in the first quarter.
“It was a disappointing result, obviously,” H-K coach Tyler Wilcox said. “We didn’t play our best game and we hurt ourselves with penalties at the worst times. But now we have to get back to work, clean things up, and prepare for two games in a four-day span.”
The Cougars travel to Falcon Field in Meriden to play SMSA on Friday at 6 p.m. H-K will finish the season by playing Valley Regional for the Principals’ Cup in Deep River on Nov. 23 at 6:30 p.m.
H-K…….7 0 0 0–7
CREC…0 0 8 0–8
H-K: Tate Callender 3 run (Kevin Cavrell kick)
CREC: Cayden Ortiz 15 run (Ortiz run)
Records: H-K 2-6; CREC 2-7.