Boys soccer: Wilton advances behind Zizzadoro's four goals
Head coach Jim Lewicki had been waiting for Michael Zizzadoro to bust out all season — and the sophomore striker couldn’t have picked a better time.
Zizzadoro scored all four goals for the Wilton High boys soccer team as the Warriors beat New Fairfield, 4-2, in a Class L out-bracket game on Saturday in New Fairfield.
The 34th-seeded Warriors (6-7-4) advanced to the first round and will be at second-seeded Wilcox Tech (15-0-1) today at 2 in Meriden.
“Zizzadoro just played a great game.That’s what I expect of him. That’s why he’s up there,” Lewicki said of Zizzadoro, who had five goals all season going into the game. “Hopefully, he can take this game and use it to his advantage. This is what he can do.”
Zizzadoro opened the scoring midway through the first half, beating a couple of defenders into the box and rolling a shot past the charging keeper, Jared O’Connor. The goal was set up by a long pass over midfield by John Brown.
Both sides had decent chances in the first half, with neither able to establish control of the game or put many shots on goal.
The Rebels had a good chance early in the second half but Lorcan Dunne’s shot from the top of the box was off-target.
The Warriors came back with open shots by Zizzadoro, Josh Bender and Alec Ziluca that all went high or wide, but finally made it 2-0 just over 12 minutes into the half when Zizzadoro ran down a ball in the right side of the box and got off a shot. O’Connor, coming off his line, partially deflected the ball but it wound up going in anyway.
After that goal, things opened up, making for an entertaining game over the final 25 minutes, with the play going end-to-end and back-and-forth. Brown and Ziluca both had shots for Wilton, and Kyle Rettinger had a shot on goal for the Rebels.
The Rebels finally got on the scoreboard with 19:33 left, when Dunne headed Giovanni Linero’s corner kick under the crossbar and into the goal, cutting the lead to 2-1.
Over the next four minutes, Brown had a couple of shots on goal for Wilton, and Dunne had a near-breakaway for New Fairfield that Wilton goalie Tyler Smith came out and broke up with a sliding save.
After a shot by Ziluca went wide, Dunne took the ball into box on another near-breakaway. Smith against came out to break up the rush but the ball popped into the air, with Dunne’s attempt to head the ball into the open goal blocked by center back Karl Pfeiffer.
The Warriors made it 3-1 with just over 10 minutes left, as Zizzadoro took advantage of a New Fairfield miscue in the box to knock in a loose ball from in front.
The Rebels needed only 43 seconds to make it a one-goal game again, scoring on another corner as Jonathan Milovic’s kick to the near post was headed in by Kory Rautter.
Wilton came back and nearly scored with seven minutes left when Brown’s shot from 35 yards just missed the top, right corner of the goal.
The Rebels had several chances to tie the game in the final five minutes, on a free kick from 35 yards and then a corner kick with about three minutes left.
But on the corner the Warriors were able to clear the ball to Zizzadoro, who took it over midfield on a breakaway and put a shot past the charging O’Connor to make it 4-2 with 3:07 left to play.
New Fairfield, the 31st seed, finished the season at 7-10.
“New Fairfield, I thought, was a very good team. They played a very methodical game. It looked like they knew exactly what they wanted to do — play with the ball in the back and try to get somebody isolated,” said Lewicki. “I think in the second half, once we scored, it kind of got them out of that. They didn’t play in the back as much and everything was more direct.”
Smith had three saves in goal for Wilton, and O’Connor finished with four saves for New Fairfield.
“Our corner defense killed us. We’re not a big team. We have to use our technical abilities and tactical thought process on the field and hopefully it works,” said Lewicki. “As long as guys make their runs and create space for themselves, we’ll be okay.”