Litchfield ousts Housatonic in over­time

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - SPORTS - By Peter Wal­lace

TOR­RING­TON — For 80 min­utes of a Class S boys soc­cer sec­ond-round game at Tor­ring­ton High School, No. 2 Litchfield (14-2-1) fought No 15 Housatonic (10-8) to a score­less dead­lock be­tween what’s ar­guably the Berk­shire League’s best of­fense against its best de­fense.

Then over­time opened the nets for a 3-1 Litchfield win fea­tur­ing Char­lie Shanks and Tim Dono­van, the Cow­boy pair most re­spon­si­ble for Litchfield’s po­tent of­fense.

“You don’t want an easy game in the state tour­na­ment,” said the se­nior Shanks, who scored two goals in the over­time’s first 10 min­utes.

But even then, Housatonic’s Lu­cas Cal­houn broke through for a Moun­taineer goal, mak­ing a fi­nal PK round still seem a dis­tinct pos­si­bil­ity.

“That is a very good team,” said Litchfield coach Rob An­drulis. “With­out (four for­feits for a sel­f­re­ported in­el­i­gi­ble player), they’re 13-5.

The Moun­taineers came to the Robert H. Frost Sports Com­plex’s turf field with ma­jor mo­men­tum. Af­ter their for­feits, Housatonic fin­ished the sea­son with six straight wins, in­clud­ing ones against league co-cham­pion Litchfield and the other two BL teams then above them in the stand­ings.

Tues­day, the Moun­taineers knocked off No. 18 Bolton, 3-1, in a first-round game while the Cow­boys sat out a bye.

“We’ve lived on our de­fense all sea­son,” said Housatonic coach Jim Ter­rall be­fore one of the Housy reg­u­lar-sea­son wins.

Thurs­day, Ter­rall trusted Jeff Palmer, his best de­fender, to mark BL scor­ingleader Dono­van.

The teams played up to their rep­u­ta­tions in the first half. Litchfield out­shot Housatonic 7-0, but Dono­van, ham­pered by a hip flexor and Palmer’s shadow, wasn’t a fac­tor.

The sec­ond half flipped as Housatonic’s of­fense took over with sev­eral good chances.

If the first half was act one be­tween two of the league’s best goalkeepers, fea­tur­ing Housatonic’s Caleb Sh­pur, the sec­ond half shined a spot­light on Litchfield’s Colby Bun­nell.

The prospect of a PK shootout with them al­ter­nat­ing in the net loomed large.

Both teams started the 20-minute over­time with clear in­tent to avoid the fi­nal round.

In the first minute, Housy’s Jack McAuliffe raced alone to the Litchfield net, called back by an off­sides rul­ing.

A minute later, Dono­van took a pass near the Moun­taineer back line, pop­ping it out to Shanks at the top of the keeper’s box. His shot whis­tled into the net.

“That first goal en­er­gized us,” said Dono­van, a sopho­more who spent much of his stel­lar sea­son con­vert­ing as­sists from Shanks.

But, if as­sign­ing Housy’s best de­fender to Dono­van was suc­cess­ful for most of Thurs­day’s game, its penalty came from an open Shanks for an­other great shot in the sixth minute.

“We didn’t clear the ball on the first goal,” said Ter­rall.

Down 2-0 at the start of over­time’s sec­ond half, Moun­taineer Cal­houn kept his bal­ance on a drive over a would-be Cow­boy tackle for Housatonic’s goal.

Three min­utes later, Shanks crossed a pass to Dono­van on the left side of the Housy net for the clincher.

“We have a spe­cial chem­istry,” said Shanks.

With to­day’s rain ex­pected to leave Litchfield’s Plum Hill Field un­playable again, the Cow­boys host No. 23 Im­mac­u­late back at Tor­ring­ton in Sat­ur­day’s quar­ter­fi­nals at a time to be an­nounced.

Im­mac­u­late beat No. 7 St. Paul 3-1 Thurs­day.

Peter Wal­lace / For Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Litchfield beat Housatonic in over­time Thurs­day af­ter­noon in a Class S sec­ond-round boys soc­cer game in Tor­ring­ton.

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