Wilton beats Barlow, advances to state semis

Connor Uitterdijk and the Wilton boys soccer team are headed to the state semifinals.

Connor Uitterdijk and the Wilton boys soccer team are headed to the state semifinals.

Gretchen McMahon / For Hearst Connecticut Media

All of the game’s six goals came in the opening half.

Wilton scored five of them, and that 40-minute barrage was more than enough to give the hosts a 5-1 victory over Joel Barlow in a Class L boys soccer state quarterfinal game Friday at Kristine Lilly Field.

The 10th-seeded Warriors will now meet sixth-seed Wethersfield in the semifinals on Monday night (6 p.m.) at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury.

“We know what we need to do and also know if you don’t win you go home,” said Wilton senior Liam McLaughlin following the triumph over 15th-seed Barlow. “We tell ourselves [to] just go out and play our game and play with confidence. We knew they like to possess the ball and are very technical.”

It was McLaughlin who put Wilton’s opening score in motion with a back-heel flick to Connor Uitterdijk, who then sent a crossing pass that Michael Zizzadoro converted for a 1-0 lead just 43 seconds into the game.

The quick score caught Barlow off guard, but the Falcons regrouped and tied the game in the 14th minute off a set piece. Jack Ledbetter played a corner kick toward the near post and Jack Baer was there to put it into the Wilton net.

The rest of the first half was all Wilton. Two minutes after Barlow tied the game, McLaughlin was taken down in the box and scored on the ensuing penalty kick to give the Warriors a 2-1 advantage.

Wilton added three more goals in a 13-minute span to go ahead 5-1 at the break. Zizzadoro got the first, with Nathan Bennett then scoring on an assist from Owen Lillis. Bennett returned the favor by feeding Lillis, who sent a high shot into the corner of the net.

“I’m excited for the win; we showed that we were hungry for the win and to move on to the next round,” said Wilton head coach Edwin Carvajal. “The players on this team have great chemistry and we built on that.

“We instructed them where to be on the field and [to] play with confidence and support their teammates,” added Carvajal. “We’ve played three challenging teams so far in the tournament, [with] Barlow at the top of that list.”