MERIDEN >> Striker James Costanzo primarily uses his left foot to score goals for the Ellington boys soccer team.
On Tuesday night, Costanzo took the final shot of the game — with his right foot. The result was better than all of his other attempts.
The line drive found the back of the net with just 1.7 seconds showing on the scoreboard clock to send No. 14 seed Ellington to a 1-0 win over No. 18 Lyman Hall at Falcon Field and into the Class M championship game.
“It’s sinking in now that we made it to the finals,” Costanzo said. “It’s a crazy feeling, a crazy feeling.”
Robert Bailey had the assist for the Knights (14-5-1), who will face either top-seeded Suffield or No. 12 Plainville in Saturday’s final at a site and time to be determined.
“I was on the other end of that one time. It was in the state tournament, so I tip my hat to those guys (Lyman Hall). That’s not an easy way to go out,” Ellington coach Roy Gurnon said.
For Lyman Hall (12-6-2), it was a tough ending to a Cinderella run to the semifinals after finishing in last place in the SCC Housatonic Division. The Trojans beat two higher-seeded teams along the way.
“What’s there to say? It was a great game,” Lyman Hall coach Arnie Jandreau said. “We had a hell of a run, a great year. I’m proud of these guys. … I thought we could have played better, but that’s the way soccer is. It is an unforgiving sport.”
The Trojans were hoping to make their first state title appearance since 1996.
Instead, it is Ellington advancing to its eight final in hopes of a fifth championship.
“I thought we created some great chances in the second half,” Gurnon said. “Those didn’t go in and all of a sudden, somehow with the time running down, we get one last chance.”
Lyman Hall outshot Ellington 14-9. Bailey Bassett had to make five saves in the second half to keep the game scoreless.
“The funny thing with strikers, you only have to succeed one time to do your job,” Costanzo said. “But hats off to our defense, because they have to succeed all the time to do their job.”
When Bassett wasn’t there for the saves, a defender was. Eric Amundarian cleared a shot that would have given Lyman Hall a 1-0 lead with 10 minutes left in regulation.
The scoreboard was at the opposite end of where the only goal took place. The last time Costanzo saw the game clock, 20 seconds remained.
“We don’t give up on anything,” Costanzo said. “It sounds crazy, but even in those last 20 seconds, I think all of our teammates thought we would score.”
And Costanzo had the golden touch off the right foot.