GLASTONBURY >> Not all first round games are created equal, even when you’re the three-time reigning Class LL state champions.
Ninth-seeded Glastonbury found that out on Tuesday at its home field as an early goal from Harvey Lipman ended up being the only goal as the Tomahawks beat 24th-seeded Stamford 1-0.
“When you see the bracket come out and see Stamford — phenomenal coach, phenomenal team,” Glastonbury coach Mark Landers said. “We knew we were going to have our hands full today and we did.”
Glastonbury has won first-round games each of the last three years and all three times has ended the season with a trophy. It won Class LL outright the last two years and shared the title with Ridgefield in 2013.
Overall the Tomahawks have nine state championships.
Glastonbury will host 25th-seeded and CCC Central Region Blue Division rival Simsbury on Thursday at 2 p.m. The Tomahawks won both regular season meetings.
Just one minute and three seconds after the starting whistle blew at Glastonbury High School, Lipman found himself just enough open space in front of the Stamford net. He took a cross from the right side off the foot of Jack Wadleigh and beat Alex Grabar.
“We’ve been working on those all the time,” Lipman said. “Just trying to get it out wide and send it in. I just held my run top of the box, then got it, one touch and put it in the corner.”
For the next 78 minutes and 57 seconds Stamford gave the Tomahawks all they could handle.
Phillip Pec missed a shot high, Patryk Tomczak had multiple runs up the middle and Grabar settled down to make a handful of strong saves.
“We got caught and that was it,” Stamford coach Mario Caminiti said. “But I think we grew throughout the first half, we started to control the game and we started playing our style.”
And Glastonbury had a few opportunities to put the game out of reach.
“We knew that they like that fast-paced, quick, long ball type of game,” Caminiti said. “Our goalkeeper kept us in the game with some saves — we just couldn’t finish, which I would say was our nemesis during the season.”
Freddy Clark hit the inside of the post in the seventh minute and then a few minutes later an attempt to clear the ball by a Stamford defender when awry and almost bounced into the Black Knights net.
“I think anytime you score early it’s a good thing one way, you’re on the board,” Landers said. “But the other way is you tend to relax a little bit and you can’t relax against these guys. They’re too good — we struggled at times, but we also had opportunities to put the game away and we didn’t do it.”
As the physicality picked up, Stamford had more time of possession. The only problem was a Glastonbury defender always seemed to be in the way of the pass that would have tied the game. The Black Knights couldn’t convert.
“We’re a pretty physical team, but they were very physical,” Lipman said. “They have some big guys, but we have some big guys too. It was just a battle and we’re lucky to come out on top. They’re very good.”
“We just needed one lucky break,” Caminiti said. “We didn’t get it and they got it.”