MERIDEN – Hot play has continued into the the playoffs for the Maloney boys soccer team.
The No. 15 Spartans scored one goal in each half to earn a 2-0 CIAC Class L first-round win over No. 18 Bristol Central at Falcon Field on Monday afternoon.
“I’m so proud of this team,” Maloney senior Bryan Brazel said. “We hadn’t made the second round since my freshman year. We were all pumped for this one.”
Maloney (11-6) dominated the first half, out-shooting the Rams 11-1. The Spartans had a 1-0 lead to show for it. Adison Cardoso provided the advantage with a goal with 13:55 before the halftime.
Brazel set up the goal. He dribbled into the box and drew Central keeper Alex Bernier. Brazel tapped it over Cardoso with the goalie out of position. Cardoso’s initial shot was blocked by a BC defender Hunter Peterson. The rebound came right back to Cardoso and this time his attempt went in.
“When I drove down the side I heard Adison call my name,” Brazel said. “I didn’t even have to look. He was calling loud and I gave it to him. He took that first shot and it hit a defender and bounced right back to him. Once he got it back I knew it was going in. It was the best feeling running back up the field.”
Brazel broke free from the defense a few times in the second half when the Rams were forced to play more aggressively. Brazel eventually broke through with an unassisted goal with 14:11 to play, beating the Central keeper with a ball on the ground.
“After all of the attempts, I had to put one away for them. I hit it as hard as I could down and I hit it right between his legs,” Brazel said. “I couldn’t believe it. It was a great feeling.”
The Spartans did face adversity just before kickoff as starting goalie Devin Juan was scratched just before the start of the match with a thumb injury. The ailment was sustained during warmups. Senior keeper Guadalupe Martinez earned the shutout in his place on one save.
“He did fine as he should,” Parness said. “Both guys have been good all year.”
In all, Maloney out-shot Bristol Central, 15-2.
Despite the two goals scored Monday, Maloney coach Dave Parness said the Spartans have to be more effective in one-on-one opportunities with the opposing goalie.
“If we want to keep moving on in the tournament, we have to put the ball in the net, “Parness said.
Parness said he also wants his team to play with more composure. There were four total yellow cards in Monday’s game, three on Maloney.
“We have to be better composed, knowing the time and situation,” Parness said. “Our issue isn’t the physical issue of the game, it’s the mental, and we have to understand that things aren’t always going to go our way. We have to play thought it.”
Maloney has won 9 of its last 11 and will host No. 34 Wilton on Wednesday in the second round. The Warriors were in Meriden on Monday to face No. 2 Wilcox Tech and they scored a 4-0 victory.
Central’s season ended at 8-7-2. Prior to Monday, Maloney and Bristol Central met in the regular season. The Rams won 3-1 in Bristol on Sept. 25.