Old Saybrook beats Oxford in PKs, advances to Class S boys soccer final

Pete Wisialowski (center) converted the penalty kick that sent Old Saybrook into the Class S title game. At right is Rams senior captain Cameron DeAngelo.

Pete Wisialowski (center) converted the penalty kick that sent Old Saybrook into the Class S title game. At right is Rams senior captain Cameron DeAngelo.

Paul Augeri / For Hearst Connecticut Media

NEW BRITAIN – Old Saybrook ended unbeaten Oxford’s dream season and will play for its fourth straight CIAC Class S boys soccer championship this weekend.

The fifth-seeded Rams outlasted the Wolverines 2-1 in the semifinals Tuesday at snowy Veterans Stadium, sealing the win 7-5 on penalty kicks when hobbled senior Peter Wisialowski put his shot past Oxford keeper Noah Kondic.

“Is there a little bit of luck in this game? Absolutely,” said Old Saybrook coach Steve Waters, who has won 10 state titles (nine at Farmington) in 36 seasons. “I’m happy that these guys got this game behind them because this is a big task. We only used 13 players today.”

The championship game will be an all-Shoreline Conference affair. No. 3 East Hampton defeated No. 26 Notre Dame-Fairfield 2-0 on the other side of the bracket.

“We’ve been here before and this group’s been together for a few years,” Waters said. “We talked today about being comfortable in an uncomfortable position. We were the underdogs walking into this. I told the guys at halftime, ‘You’re not the underdogs anymore.’ Guys had to play different positions today. That was part of it. We had to be comfortable being uncomfortable.”

Wisialowski, who had ACL surgery previously, injured the knee in Old Saybrook’s 2-0 quarterfinal win over Litchfield. He left the field Tuesday late in the first half and did not return until the second 10-minute overtime.

He relished the chance to take a penalty shot when Waters said, “It’s your senior year. Go ahead, finish it off.”

“I was telling myself I didn’t want to kick it, that by the time they got to me we would have already won,” Wisialowski said, smiling. “But I just got up there and did what I had to do.”

Oxford, the Naugatuck Valley League champs, brought a 19-0-0 record coming in and had been unscored upon in the tournament.

The Wolverines scored first when Syed Messim buried a cross pass from Ryan Scully from 10 yards out 9:27 in. Old Saybrook tied it in the 32nd minute when Brayden Cody blasted a shot past Oxford keeper Noah Kondic. The Rams (17-1-2) tied it in the 32nd minute when Brayden Cody blasted a shot past Kondic.

Both teams had excellent chances to go ahead with three minutes left in the half.

Matthew Dima set up Daniel Tichy as he streaked to the net, but his lead pass was just a hair out front. Old Saybrook keeper London Sweeney went to the ground to smother the ball.

The Rams actually had two shots on the same play in the final 60 seconds. A close-range shot was stopped by Kondic, but he lost his grip on it. Old Saybrook’s follow-up attempt went wide.

“They can’t hang their heads. They’re champions,” Oxford coach Dan Bautista said. “To push a three-time state champ to the absolute limit and go to a second round of penalty kicks, there’s only so much more that we could have done. And I’m proud that we gave our absolute best. You saw not only our technical and cognitive skills, but our character displayed for the entire state to see. I’m just so happy for the boys to have this opportunity to play here.”