Boys soccer: Warriors advance with 4-0 win over Wilcox Tech

After scoring only 19 goals in 16 regular-season games, the Wilton High boys soccer team has now tallied eight goals in two Class L state tournament games.

The Warriors advanced to the second round of the state playoffs with a 4-0 win over second-seeded Wilcox Tech on Monday in Meriden. The win sends Wilton back to Meriden on Wednesday to take on 15th-seeded Maloney at 4.

“I told the kids, it doesn’t matter how you start, it’s how you finish. Right now we’re finishing the way we should be,” said head coach Jim Lewicki. “We’re 3-0-2 in our last five games. We’re doing what we need to do right now.”

The 34th-seeded Warriors improved to 7-7-4, reaching the .500 mark for only the second time this season.

It was the first loss of the season for Wilcox Tech (18-1-1), champs of the Connecticut Technical Conference.

Despite the final score, Monday’s game was a closely-matched and physical battle, especially in the second half when the Indians were still down only 2-0 and had the Warriors on their heels for most of the first 20-30 minutes.

“They are a good team. I can see why they were 18-0-1,” said Lewicki. “I think with the caliber of the league we play in, it’s a big advantage for us.”

Lewicki said that Wilcox Tech’s grass field, which was slanted so that one team was always playing slightly uphill, was a tough adjustment for the Warriors — who played going downhill in the first half.

Wilcox Tech had the best early chance when a beautiful midfield pass by Kelvin Cortez sent Christopher Aceves into the right box, where his open shot went high.

Wilton had some good early chances as well and finally got on the scoreboard in the 18th minute on John Brown’s penalty kick, after Colin Kroll was taken down in the box.

The lead went to 2-0 in the 24th minute when Alex Ziluco’s chip shot dipped under the crossbar from about 15 yards out, off a pass from Chase Connolly.

Wilcox Tech had the Wilton defense under pressure for a good part of the first 20 to 25 minutes of the second half, with goalie Tyler Smith having to make a couple of saves and repeatedly come off his line to gobble up dangerous balls in the box.

Early in the half, Smith made a high save on Victor Ahuatzi after he got behind a defender in the left box, and Cam Morris later made a great sliding tackle to break up a near-break by Ahmed Alhallak.

Another good run, this time in the right side of the box by Elias Henry, resulted in Henry heading the ball over a charging Smith, but Karl Pfeiffer had the goal line covered to clear the ball.

Wilcox Tech later had a free kick from near midfield that was headed high, and a corner kick that was resulted in another high shot.

Wilton eventually reversed the pressure and scored midway through the half on a beautiful touch pass by Michael Zizzadoro to Josh Bender, who put the ball past the charging keeper, Tanner Rhodes, and inside the near post.

The Indians had one of their best chances of the game with under 20 minutes left, when Cortez launched a blistering shot from the top of the box that Smith managed to tip over the crossbar.

Wilton notched its final goal a few minutes later when Tim Foley scored from 10 yards in front as he one-timed a pass from Chase Connolly, who had two assists on the day.

Wilton had a chance to add to the lead in the waning minutes, when a beautiful free kick from the left side by Matt Newfield was run onto and headed just over the crossbar by Clayton Latone.

The Indians had one more chance late but Chris Sweeney, who had come in to play goal, made the save.

“They kids played great. Our second and third goals were tremendous goals,” said Lewicki. “(Wilcox) had some good opportunities but we were able to withstand them.”