WOODBURY >> No. 12 Plainville (13-5-1) beat No. 4 Nonnewaug (14-3-2) in a Class M Boys Soccer Quarterfinal 2-1 at Nonnewaug High School Saturday afternoon.
Nonnewaug senior goalkeeper Nate Israel got the biggest accolades.
“There were four shots we should have put away in the first half,” said Plainville coach Tim Brown. “Their keeper kept them in the game. He energized them.”
Plainville, from a CCC-East Division laden with Class L and LL teams, dominated the first half at Nonnewaug.
Nevertheless, with Israel in the net and a Jack Kingdon header off Christian Mancini’s corner kick 27 minutes into the game, Nonnewaug led 1-0 at the half.
“I told Nate, ‘If you’re going to have a great game, it might as well be your last one,'” said Nonnewaug coach Toby Denman. “We’d have been done before the (first-half) horn without him.”
Israel’s first big save came 13 minutes into the game.
The Blue Devils took the edge in the first few minutes, then earned a yellow card for their aggression six minutes in.
Thirteen minutes in, Plainville owned the midfield much of the time.
Junior Nick D’Amico swept in from the left corner, firing a shot off Israel, out of bounds.
A Blue Devil corner kick followed, flying in close to the line; Israel knocked it away. A Nonnewaug defender cleared it.
Three minutes later, another Plainville shot blew straight in on Israel. Another block.
Senior Blue Devil co-captain Andrew Rottier had the nearest miss of all 23 minutes in. His header off a restart 30 yards out caught the edge of the crossbar and rattled out. Israel grabbed the slow dribbler as it ran in again.
Twenty-seven minutes into the half, the Chiefs got their chance.
Kingdon, in the middle, sent the ball forward to Yuri Gulak pinching in from the right. Gulak’s shot caromed off Blue Devil goalkeeper Alex Bawol out of bounds.
Mancini set up in the corner. Kingdon, a junior, headed his serve into the lower right corner of the goal for his 31st goal of the season.
Israel had one more big save before the half.
“We found every part of the goal (frame) in the first half, but we stayed positive,” laughed Plainville senior co-captain Shane Pugliese.
“It’s just frustration,” said senior Michael Giuliani. “Then it’s hard to do it right.”
“We said if we just keep playing our brand of football, we’ll break them down again,” said Coach Brown.
Plainville’s D’Amico had a clear shot from the 18 two minutes into the second half. Israel was there.
Seven minutes in, Nonnewaug’s Peter Bequary popped up a header to Bawol off a great restart kick from Mancini 40 yards away.
Seconds later, Bawol came way out of the box. Nonnewaug freshman Nate Firlings slipped past, depositing the ball into the empty net.
The goal would have put Nonnewaug up 2-0. Refs ruled Firlings offside, no goal.
Instead, the Blue Devils made their possession game pay off.
Twelve minutes into the period, Pugliese took a pass from Quentin Lux, bulling in for the goal like a fullback through his line.
Five minutes later, D’Amico curled a corner kick in toward the net. Giuliani, standing by the near post, headed it down for the winner.
Nonnewaug’s Israel stayed busy holding the lead to a single goal.
Giuliani banged a point-blank shot off Israel on the ground in the 26th minute of the half.
Intensity went up, with a Plainville yellow card in the 27th, a Nonnewaug card in the 34th.
Both teams held. The Blue Devils sent long clock-eating kicks downfield. Nonnewaug pushed its defenders forward.
Finally, with less than a minute left, the Chiefs had one more chance for overtime.
A corner kick sailed into Plainville’s box, rattling around for seconds on the ground. Nobody could get a foot on it.
“That last corner is about as exciting as it gets,” said Denman.
Finally, the ball was cleared, the seconds down to zero.
Plainville moves on to the semifinals for the second time in three years.
Nonnewaug contemplates next year without five starters, including Israel.
Still, the Chiefs’ second and fourth leading scorers this season were freshmen (Leland Malloy and Nate Firlings_.
No. 12 Plainville 2, No. 4 Nonnewaug 1
At Nonnewaug High School
Plainville 0 2-2
Nonnewaug 1 0-1
Goals: P-Shane Pugliese; Michael Giuliani. N-Jack Kingdon. Assists: P-Quentin Lux; Nick D’Amico. N-Christian Mancini. Shots: 15-7 Plainville. Saves: P-Alex Bawol 4. N-Nate Israel 9.
Records: Plainville 13-5-1; Nonnewaug 14-3-2.