In its quest for another championship, the No. 6 Somers High School boys’ soccer team was unsuccessful when it ran into No. 4 Bloomfield.
In a very tight battle, Bloomfield ended up coming away with a 3-2 victory to claim the Class S state championship. It was Bloomfield’s first-ever championship for soccer.
Somers got on the scoreboard first midway through the first half on a goal by Luke Alvaro. The game remained that way into the half.
Bloomfield came out of the break firing, and just a couple minutes in, evened the score. Alvaro scored a second goal, assisted by Joe Pantuosco, midway through the second half. However, Bloomfield immediately took the ball down the field and again evened the score.
With 1:36 remaining in the game Bloomfield’s Fabian Burnett – who scored the first two goals – netted another one for the Warhawks. The Spartans couldn’t respond and when the final horn went off, Bloomfield (15-4-1) had its first title.
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First-year coach Rick Kelley said that Somers was aware of Burnett and what he could do, and was also aware of Bloomfield’s kick it and run style of play.
“Our defense didn’t do what it’s capable of today,” he said. “They’re a good group of kids and they’re talented, and they just didn’t take care of the ball the way they needed to. It made it very tough. It put our backs against the wall unnecessarily. Bloomfield has the ability to score goals at will and we knew that. They weren’t a team that was going to pass the ball and control possession per se – they kick and run. They have speed and they have someone that can dribble pretty well.”
Some defensive miscues by the Spartans (15-6) played into Bloomfield’s gameplan and contributed to Somers being on the receiving end of the loss.
“That’s what happened today,” Kelley said. “When you don’t kick the ball, which is one of the fundamentals of soccer, you tend not to do so well. On that last goal, we didn’t kick the ball out. It’s as simple as that – there’s nothing more complicated about what happened. We kicked the ball to the other team. Then they got a corner kick as the result of us not clearing the ball, then they cross it and put it in.”
Kelley said that his team didn’t make it easy on itself in the stretch, making errors in the final moments when you really need to dig deep.
“That happens and unfortunately we were on the receiving end of it,” he said.
He also feels that the Spartans didn’t test the goalkeeper as much as they could have in the second half and were also unable to penetrate the 18 like they needed to – which is normally a strength.
Kelley, who was not part of the previous teams, gave Pantuosco credit for the success over the years and for creating the expectation of making it this far year after year.
“It’s a privilege to step into the moving parts of a successful organization,” he said.
According to Kelley, this team exceeded the expectations of many and that he’s very proud of them.
Last season, Somers graduated 10 seniors, and this year 12 seniors will also be departing. They will be missed.
“The senior class is a very cohesive class, and a very good group of kids,” he said. “What they did to make this season easy was that they’re a good group of kids. I told them that my only regret is that I didn’t have four years with them.”
But he is optimistic about the future.
“We still have our starting midfield here and our goalkeeper and a few key players on defense, so next year is looking like a great year for us to be in same spot we are today,” Kelley said.