Hat­ters hang on

Dan­bury reaches quar­ter­fi­nals for fourth straight sea­son

The News-Times - - SPORTS - By Scott Eric­son

DAN­BURY — It was not pretty but at this point in the sea­son, there are no points for style.

No. 6 Dan­bury scored eight min­utes into the game then held on as No. 11 Nau­gatuck did all it could to tie the game over the fi­nal 20 min­utes of play.

In the end, Dan­bury es­caped with a 1-0 win in the CIAC Class LL sec­on­dround game. The Hat­ters will now host No. 19 East Hart­ford in Sat­ur­day’s quar­ter­fi­nals. East Hart­ford up­set No. 3 Fair­field Prep 3-0 on Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

It is the third straight trip to the quar­ter­fi­nals for Dan­bury.

“It feels good. It’s the same sit­u­a­tion as last year, hope­fully we can pull out a win this time. Any team that beats Prep 3-0 is go­ing to be a tough matchup. Luck­ily, we have them at home but we know it will be a tough game,” Dan­bury cen­ter back Tyler War­ren said.

“(Nau­gatuck) put up a lot of pres­sure in the sec­ond half. At some points they had four strik­ers up there which was tougher to deal with, but I think we con­tained them well.”

Dan­bury looked sharp out of the gate, at­tack­ing and gen­er­at­ing scor­ing chances be­fore Ti­ago Dos Reis drib­bled into the box, pass­ing to wide-open Malamin Jal­low who fin­ished with a touch for the goal.

Dan­bury had op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­tend its lead, but missed wide on sev­eral qual­ity scor­ing chances in a first half that also saw it called for off­sides five times.

Over the fi­nal min­utes of the first half and into the sec­ond, Nau­gatuck be­gan cre­at­ing more of­fen­sive chances, re­ally crank­ing up the en­gines over the fi­nal 20 min­utes.

Dan­bury keeper Matthew Silva was called upon to make sev­eral saves in the sec­ond half on blis­ter­ing shots with noth­ing find­ing its way to the back of the net.

“I thought out­side of the first 15

min­utes, where were still find­ing our feet against a good team, we were fan­tas­tic,” Nau­gatuck coach Ryan Kinne said.

“I thought we set­tled down, cre­ated some chances, got some pos­ses­sions had them on their heels, a bit. It was just un­for­tu­nate we couldn’t sneak one in there.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Tyler War­ren, Dan­bury. As the Nau­gatuck of­fen­sive pres­sure built, War­ren was there in the back time and time again to turn the ball out and back up field.

QUOTABLE

“We haven’t been play­ing well, which is the crazy thing. At the end of the day, it’s all about win­ning now. I’d rather play poorly and win than play well and lose, ob­vi­ously, but we have to be bet­ter,” Dan­bury coach An­thony Howard said. “Credit to Nau­gatuck, they came out sec­ond half and put pres­sure on us. This is a state cup game and we pan­icked a lit­tle and didn’t stick to our game. I know how well we can play; we just need to string to­gether a full 80 min­utes.”

H John Voorhees III / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Dan­bury’s Lu­cas Oliveira, right, gets off the shot be­fore col­lid­ing with Nau­gatuck’s Gus­tavo Medina in Thurs­day’s Class LL sec­ond-round game at Dan­bury High School.

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