Bas­sick’s dream sea­son ends on penalty kicks

Connecticut Post (Sunday) - - Sports - By Mike Cardillo

BRIDGE­PORT — For 100 min­utes Satur­day night Bas­sick and Avon pushed one an­other to the ab­so­lute limit in their Class L boys soc­cer quar­ter­fi­nal.

Nei­ther team could break the 1- 1 dead­lock, leav­ing the lot­tery known as penalty kicks to de­cide it at a frigid Lewis Memo­rial Field at Hard­ing High. No. 12 Avon won the shootout 4- 2 and ad­vances to the semi­fi­nals next week against No. 17 Maloney.

Bas­sick, the No. 4 seed, fin­ishes the best sea­son in school his­tory at 13- 3- 2.

“If there’s a way I have to go out, I’ll go out this way,” Lions coach Saleh Hanaif said. “The boys played, 80, 90, 100 min­utes … I couldn’t be

CLASS L AVON 1 BAS­SICK 1

more proud of them.”

In the shootout all four Avon play­ers con­verted their kicks in­clud­ing the clincher by Ryan Bartkiewicz, while two Bas­sick tak­ers missed the tar­get. Af­ter the kicks ended Fal­cons keeper Max Fro­der­mann went over to hug his coun­ter­part Gus­tavo Poblano. The Lions se­nior keeper was ex­cel­lent through­out reg­u­la­tion and ex­tra time — pil­ing up 11 saves.

“I’ve been in that po­si­tion,” said Fro­der­mann, who also con­verted his kick in the shootout. “I know how dif­fi­cult it is to go out af­ter a PK shootout. It’s the least I can do, be­cause they can go ei­ther way.”

Bas­sick took ad­van­tage of a spilled ball by Fro­der­mann in the 9th minute, set­ting up Kevin Mones’ goal from close range that made it 1-0.

Avon pulled level two min­utes be­fore half­time when Alex Rosten­berg found space out­side the area and drilled a shot into the up­per right cor­ner. It capped off a wild, back-and­forth first half that saw the teams com­bine for 17 shots.

The sec­ond half was a dif­fer­ent story as Avon slowly mounted pres­sure to pin Bas­sick in its own end. The Fal­cons cre­ated many chances from long throws and set pieces — twice hit­ting the cross­bar — but the Lions de­fense held firm.

Daniel Mal­don­ado and Mones each made im­por­tant blocks in 1-on-1 sit­u­a­tions for Bas­sick to help force over­time. Se­nior Fritz Delphonse an­chored the Lions de­fend­ers through­out the night.

“I ex­pected a tough bat­tle,” Avon coach David Zlatin said. “I talked to a few coaches and they’re a very com­pet­i­tive, hard­work­ing team. It was a ter­rific ef­fort by them, they kept us at bay.”

Avon ap­peared to have scored in over­time from a cor­ner kick, but the of­fi­cials waved off the goal rul­ing that the ball went out of play dur­ing the ini­tial de­liv­ery from the cor­ner flag.

It meant the game would be de­cided from the penalty spot. The Lions were elim­i­nated on penalty kicks in their pre­vi­ous two state tour­na­ment ap­pear­ances un­der Hanaif and with that in mind he had his team prac­tice penal­ties for the last two weeks in­clud­ing in the rain on Fri­day night.

“The only time we go out is on PKs,” Hanaif said. “It just hap­pens, they’re high school kids.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Gus­tavo Poblano, Bas­sick. The se­nior keeper fin­ished with 11 saves — many of the div­ing va­ri­ety. Poblano’s best ef­fort came in the open­ing mo­ments when he made a dou­ble save — first sprawl­ing out to stop and Avon shot and then mak­ing a quick re­ac­tion with his hands to tip away the re­bound. He also made a save on the last kick of over­time to pre­serve the 1-1 dead­lock.

QUOTEABLE

“We be­came fam­ily. We’re a tight group. That’s what made us win all these game,” Bas­sick coach Saleh Hanaif on the Lions’ best sea­son in school his­tory com­ing to an end.

Bas­sick’s Kevin Sam­payo Mones ( 8) scores dur­ing a Class L quar­ter­fi­nal game against Avon on Satur­day at Hard­ing High School in Bridge­port.

Bas­sick goal­keeper Gus­tavo Poblano makes a save against Avon dur­ing a Class L quar­ter­fi­nal game on Satur­day at Hard­ing High School in Bridge­port.

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