MILFORD — Old Saybrook will play for a second straight CIAC Class S championship after Shon Ryan’s penalty kick 2:26 into the first overtime was the difference in a 4-3 victory over No. 9 Cromwell on Tuesday night.
The fifth-seeded Rams (16-3-4) held off a furious rally by the Panthers (12-6-3), who scored three times in the second half to erase deficits of 2-0 at halftime and 3-1 with 24 minutes left in regulation.
“It was a little frustrating to be up 3-1 and in the driver’s seat and let them back in the game,” Old Saybrook coach Sam Barnes said. “But we fought back. I thought we were the better team and it showed in the end.”
Saturday will mark Barnes’ final season after 25 years as head coach. This latest march to the state final is all about the players.
“They talked about repeat right away (after beating Morgan 2-1 last November),” Barnes said. “We struggled early. I put together a pretty heavy schedule early on (against bigger schools with elite programs). I tested them, so we came prepared for this one tonight.”
Anthony Caracoglia scored two goals for Cromwell, the latter on a penalty kick in the 57th minute, and Zach Randazzo scored on a feed from Caracoglia with 13:06 left in regulation to tie it at 3.
When a Cromwell player took down Ryan inside the box, Ryan blasted it home for the decisive score.