HAMDEN — Two goals from Josh Frumin moved the Greenwich boys soccer team one big step closer to achieving a feat it hasn’t attained since 1961.
That was the last time the Cardinals captured the state championship, a goal they are now two wins away from realizing.
Frumin’s two tallies lifted No. 14 Greenwich to a thrilling 2-1 victory over 11th-seeded host Hamden in the Class LL Tournament quarterfinals on Friday.
Greenwich advanced to the Class LL semifinals, where it will face seventh-seeded Farmington either Monday, or Tuesday, at a site yet to be determined.
Farmington (14-3-2) moved on to the semifinal-round by upsetting second-seeded Fairfield Warde, 2-1, in Friday’s quarterfinals.
The Cardinals are 3-0 in the tournament, having also defeated Conard and East Catholic in the first and second rounds, respectively.
“Our work rate was really good,” said GHS coach Kurt Putnam, whose squad was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 2018 Class LL Tournament. “We have really picked it up this past week. In a one and done tournament like this, I think it makes everyone leave it all out there on the field and play with no regrets.”
Said midfielder Francisco Liguori, one of Greenwich’s senior captains: “We want to make history for our school, which hasn’t won the state title since 1961. We’ve put a lot of effort into this and we want to keep our season going.”
The Green Dragons, who lost to Trumbull in penalty kicks in the opening round of last season’s Class LL tourney, finished its season at 10-4-3.
“We have a great bunch of boys, who work hard all year,” Hamden coach Raffaele Romano said. “Our two captains were tremendous leaders and we have about 12 seniors graduating again, so half of the team will be back next year. They meshed well, they got along well. They had fun when they had to have fun, but got serious when they had to get serious.”
Fruman scored the game’s first goal in the sixth minute. Senior midfielder/defender Davi Pedreiro booted his free kick from approximately 40 yards into the box and Fruman, positioned near the back post, rose up and delivered a header that found its way past junior goalie Gabriel Mesa, giving the Cards a 1-0 lead.
“I crashed into the box and was able get a header on the ball,” Fruman said. “It feels great to be moving on to the semifinals, all our hard work is paying off.”
Senior forward Orantay Blake had some good runs and applied pressure for the Green Dragons in the first half, while being tightly marked. Greenwich senior goalie/captain Padraig Colligan kept his team in front with a pair of saves during a key sequence in the 28th minute.
Colligan registered four saves in the winning effort.
“We all knew it was a do-or-die game for all of us and they definitely put pressure on us, especially toward the end of the game,” Colligan said. “But we received another solid defensive effort.”
The Cards extended their advantage when Fruman scored shortly after a corner kick. The initial shot off the corner kick, bounded off Mesa’s body and the opportunistic Fruman knocked the rebound into the back of the net, making it with 14:17 to go in the second half.
“The first half Josh scored on a lovely header and that second goal was also important for us,” Putnam said.
Said Romano: “They had quality free kicks and a couple of ours were short. That goal in the first half was a big deal.”
Hamden cut Greenwich’s lead to 2-1 when junior Jack Wagner scored off a scramble situation in the box in the 71st minute. Colligan registered a save on a shot from 20 yards out in the 75th minute and Blake was just high on his shot from 40 yards out in the 77th minute.
“The goal Greenwich scored early on put us down for a couple of minutes, we got one back, but couldn’t find another,” Hamden senior co-captain Michael Aceto said. “We were getting great pressure. If we had five more minutes, I think we could have gotten another one in the back of the net.”
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“A lot of us have been playing together since we were little,” Green Dragons co-captain Harrison Cozzubbo Mejia said. “We have experienced a lot together, from travel teams, through JV and we knew when we were seniors we would have a chance to go far in states. We got to the quarters and tried to get to the semis, but couldn’t at the end.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Fruman was the man for Greenwich (13-5-2), as his two goals were the difference.