Ellington — It’s a story a little too familiar for the Ellington boys’ soccer team, as the Knights had another great season end in a loss in the state finals.
Ellington had a 10-4-2 record and was the No. 12seed in the Class M tournament, but it ran into the buzzsaw of No. 3 seed Stonington (14-1-0) on Nov. 20, losing by a score of 3-1.
First-year coach Jon Bassett, a former Ellington player (Class of 2014) who was also an assistant under long-tenured Roy Gurnon, said he was extremely proud of how his players accepted him after learning he was the new coach on the first day of tryouts, and how they handled themselves all season.
“I didn’t know the reactions that the kids would have, but they took it in stride,” Bassett said. “They did what I asked them to do. With a 25-year-old coach, that doesn’t happen that often.”
Ellington was down two goals to none going into halftime, but scored in the first minute after coming out of the locker room.
“The adjustments we had to make, down two goals, so it was pushing more up the field. I thought, in the first half, we were sitting back a little bit,” Bassett said. “We definitely forced the issue in the second half and you saw the difference.”
Ellington had chances late, including a one-on-one with the goalie where the striker tripped, and another shot that hit the crossbar.
“That definitely is very frustrating, but that’s something that we have to reflect on, because we played so well, but it just didn’t go our way this time,” Bassett said.
The Knights had been to the finals in 2018 and 2019, both times after posting undefeated seasons, only to lose the title match, first to Plainville, then to Stonington, who now repeated as champs.
“It’s not what we wanted. It’s tough for the kids. If a couple of bounces go our way, it’s a little different of a game, but it didn’t today, and we’re going to have to live with it. I can live with it, because I know how hard they played,” the coach said. “Being able have that opportunity to come to the state finals three times in four years, that’s a testament to them and the hard work they put in.”
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