The GametimeCT staff took a look back at some of the most memorable moments of the 2018-19 season. Let us know your most memorable moments in the comment section below!
SILVER CITY SHOWDOWN(S)
Platt and Maloney played in their annual Stoddard Bowl. Platt won to clinch a spot in the Class L playoffs. Eleven days later the Maloney defeated the Panthers in the Class L semifinals.
FIVE OF SIX
— Scott Ericson (@EricsonSports) November 18, 2018
Glastonbury knocks off Hall 1-0 to win its fifth Class LL boys soccer championship in six years.
SON VS. FATHER
In a meeting of son John Marinelli vs. father Lou Marinelli in the Class LL football championship, it was son John and the Cardinals who won the title 34-0, claiming John’s first title and the No. 1 ranking in the GameTimeCT/New Haven Register poll.
CATCH AND THROW OF THE YEAR
AJ Barber… going HAM today.
Let us count the ways:
ONE-handed catch on lateral, and then the halfback option TD pass to Hunter Clark.
Goodness. 19-0 Greenwich mid 2nd #cthsfb pic.twitter.com/LBlV79yBum
— Sean Patrick Bowley (@SPBowley) December 8, 2018
Greenwich’s AJ Barber made waves in the Class LL title game with an unbelievable grab and then throw for a touchdown. The play itself went viral.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
St. Joseph girls soccer star Jessica Mazo was named the National Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
PARTY LIKE IT’S 1976
New Canaan’s Andrew Malling becomes the first New Canaan runner to win the FCIAC boys cross country title since 1976.
HE’S A FRESHMAN
— CT Sports Now (@CT_Sports_Now) November 22, 2018
Law’s freshman kicker Spencer Hannon kicked a 23-yard field goal with under a minute left to lift Law past rivals Foran on Thanksgiving.
THIS ONE IS FOR SEB
Trumbull’s Jason Weinstein scored in overtime to lead the Eagles to a 1-0 win in the FCIAC championship game over Danbury. Coach Sebastian Gangemi, who had been battling cancer all Fall said after the win “Oh man, going through what I am going through this year, this is beautiful. Neither team deserved to lose. In the first half we had them, in the second half they outplayed us but in overtime, I thought we had them the whole time. It was a great game between two great teams.” Gangemi died in the Spring.
ABBY DOES IT
After finishing as a runner-up her junior year, Amity’s Abby Harbinson led her team to the Class LL title, a 3-1 defeat over Darien. It was Amity’s first title since 2003.
THREE-PEAT FOR HAND
— CT Sports Now (@CT_Sports_Now) November 18, 2018
Led by Scott Testori the Hand boys soccer team claimed its third straight Class L boys soccer championship, a 1-0 win over Maloney.
BEST FOR LAST
— CT Sports Now (@CT_Sports_Now) November 19, 2018
Old Lyme’s Mya Johnson scored her 100th and 101st career goals to give Old Lyme its third straight girls soccer title, a 1-0 win over Immaculate.
TAPE TO TAPE DOMINACE
Try to score on Hand football’s defense. It didn’t happen often as the Tigers cruised to their second straight Class L title.
HUGE STOP WITH THE ANGELS ON THEIR SIDE
Well this didn’t go out earlier.
— Pete Paguaga (@PetePaguaga) November 28, 2018
Needing a stop on the two-yard line to beat Southington in the Class LL quarterfinals the Fairfield Prep defense came up huge. The defense stopped the play on fourth down and won the game. The day before Fairfield Prep coach Keith Hellstern lost his father Richard and his team picked him up.
FIRST TIME SINCE 1997
Guilford field hockey has a long winning tradition, but in 2018 the winning was taken to another level thanks to a perfect storm of talent — a combination of athleticism, speed, experience and depth at every position – that produced a special championship season. Hannah Tillier, Ella Stanley and Celia Mariconda scored to lead No. 3 Guilford to a 3-1 win over SCC rival and No. 8 seed Sacred Heart Academy in the CIAC Class M championship game. It is the second state title for the Indians, but the first won outright. Guilford were co-champs in Class L with Simsbury in 1997.
Behind three touchdowns by Dan Mason, the Newtown Nighthawks overcame a hurdle that they have been longing to do, win a Class LL playoff game. The Nighthawks did that with authority, beating the three-time defending Class LL champs Darien 26-15.
A WRECKERS’ THREE
Staples finished the season 22-1 en route to its third straight Class L field hockey title. Staples defeated Cheshire 2-0.
KLOSOWSKI’S HEAD FOR THE WIN
Megan Klosowski’s header late in the first half proved to be the difference as Ridgefield beat Staples 1-0 to win its second straight Class LL title.
WE’RE NOT GOING TO LOSE AGAIN
That was the sentiment the Branford ice hockey team had after a loss to Conard in January. The Hornets won every game afterwards, winning the SCC/SWC Division II title and then Division II state title.
CHAOS ON THE COURT
— Ryan Lacey (@RyanLacey11) March 1, 2019
It was wild day on February 28. Windsor defeated East Catholic for the CCC championship, ending its three-year reign atop the conference, Ridgefield rallied from 14 points down to beat Danbury in the FCIAC title game and for good measure Max Edwards hit a game-winning buzzer-beating three-pointer to lead Bunnell to SWC title over Immaculate. It was a crazy night.
RENE AT THE BUZZER
Naeva Rene hit a shot at the buzzer to lift Norwalk to an undefeated season and a 55-53 win over New London in the Class LL championship game.
MY THREE SON’S WINS
Never had three brothers won state titles in wrestling on the same day before Killingly’s until the Charron family of Killingly did it at the Class M championships this year. Danny (106), his fraternal twin Mike (113) and younger sibling David (126) each won state titles. And they won the titles on their father’s birthday.
Not only was Trinity Catholic’s Iyanna Lops one of the best players in the state, she also has a massive shoe collection and it’s pretty awesome.
STEAL AND SCORE
— Roman Cebulski (@mrcebulski) January 11, 2019
New Canaan’s Ryan McAleer stole the inbound pass then uncorked a half-court buzzer beating three-pointer as New Canaan came back to beat Stamford 52-49.
JOIN THE CLUB
Danbury’ Jackie DiNardo became just the second female coach to earn her 500th win in girls basketball. DiNardo’s Hatters won 12 of 13, culminated by a win over Bridgeport Central to lead her to the milestone.
MORE THAN A HELMET
Darien goalie Henri Pfeifle wore a different hockey mask on January 5. The helmet which featured the Looney Tunes character the Roadrunner made waves on social media before it was pointed out that Pfeifle was wearing the helmet to honor a family friend who died during 9/11. Teddy Maloney, the family friend, was a former hockey goalie and he was close with Pfeifle’s family.
FAMILY COMES FIRST
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) February 17, 2019
Fairfield goalie Will Capalbo stepped up all season when his team needed him most, but his biggest moment came when he was found to be a bone marrow match for his brother Charlie, who was battling a form of leukemia. With the surgery during the season, Capalbo played in what he thought was his final game of his high school career, before the surgery. In that final game Capalbo pitched his first career shutout, a 10-0 win over Norwalk/McMahon. Capalbo ended up returning to the team for the postseason.
DOWN GOES NO. 1
— Tim Murphy (@TimMurph27) March 9, 2019
The hype and expectations around the Ridgefield hockey this season were high. They should have been as the Tigers were returning a majority of their team and had some of the best players in the state on their roster. Unfortunately they ran into a hot Xavier team in the Division I quarterfinals and Nick LeClaire, who netted the game-winning goal in overtime to upset the top seeded Tigers.
BATTLE FOR WALLINGFORD
In a Division III championship matchup that many wanted, it was the Lyman Hall co-op team that defeated crosstown rivals Sheehan to claim its first ever state title. The two teams had been tops in Division III, but never were able to meet in the finals until this past winter.
80 YEARS LATER, FARMINGTON WINS FIRST TITLE
Farmington made two appearances in three years in the boys basketball championship game from 1937-39, falling in both. It took 80 years, but watching Farmington celebrate its CIAC Division III championship over Amistad made it clear it was worth the wait. After a wild celebration on the court, following a 55-45 win, members of the Farmington boys basketball team went into the stands to celebrate with the student section. Farmington’s student section nearly filled the three sections behind the basket, all students dressed in white. Students and players took multiple selfies to commemorate the moment.
KINGS OF NEW ENGLAND
The Danbury Hatters wrestling program has long dominated the state, but over the past two seasons they have taken their domination to the regional level. For the second straight season Danbury won the New England championship.
GUESS WHO’S BACK
Legendary coach Mike Walsh, winner of multiple boys basketball state titles, took over the girls program during the season and the Crusaders got running. The run was capped with a state championship win over Canton.
Notre Dame-West Haven announced in January that the school will be starting its own post graduate boys basketball program.
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
Both Innovation and Amistad had never been to a state championship, in any sport in the school’s history. That changed this Winter as both of the school’s boys basketball programs reached the pinnacle of their Divisions. Innovation captured the Division V title, a 62-41 win over Old Lyme and Amistad fell to Farmington.
No. 600 FOR BRAMEIER
After Darien defeated Wilton for coach Jeff Brameier’s 600th career win, he wanted to do one thing. “Go home and take a nap,” Brameier said with a smile.
— Sean Patrick Bowley (@SPBowley) April 19, 2019
DOWN GOES NO. 1
Wilton played great and kept the score low as the Warriors upset No. 1 Darien in the FCIAC semifinals, 4-3, ending the Blue Wave’s reign over the FCIAC for the past five years.
Trumbull junior Andrew Ilie left nothing up for debate, he is the best boys tennis player in the state. Ilie won the LL title for the second straight season and then went on to capture the State Open title.
St. Joseph’s Stephan Paolini had a great spring season, leading the Cadets to the Class M state championship. Before the Cadets’ semifinal game though, Paolini was drafted in the 5th round of the MLB Draft by the Atlanta Braves. Paolini was joined by Staples’ Chad Knight, Westhill’s Montana Semmel and Bobby Zmarzlak and East Granby’s Christian Fagnant as high school players who were drafted this year.
Before this season, everyone knew that Staples’ Chad Knight was one the best players in the state. By the end of the season the Wreckers’ senior cemented his legacy as having one of the greatest athletic careers in Connecticut High School history. Knight pitched the final 16 innings of the Wreckers season leading them to the Class LL championship, the second of his career.
For the third straight season the Hand girls tennis team did not lose a single match in the regular season. This season the Tigers took home the Class M championship.
It was a team effort as all five of Greenwich’s golfers broke an 80 as the Cardinals captured the Division I golf title, after winning the FCIAC title.
Among all the causes the state lacrosse community supported, a couple hit very close to home. Teams wore “TyStrong” shirts for McMahon assistant coach Ty Guarente, injured in a car accident in April, and raised money for Mary Socci, daughter of referee Lew Socci, as she fights brain cancer.
THREE TIMES A CHAMPION
The New Fairfield girls lacrosse team won its third-straight state championship with a convincing 18-5 win over Stonington, a win in which the Rebels scored the games first 14 goals.