MERIDEN — Kejaun Miller’s first-half goal was all the Maloney boys soccer team needed in a 1-0 CCC South-Colonial win over Berlin on Thursday night at Falcon Field.
Miller struck in the 13th minute on a tap-in of a perfect pass from fellow senior attacker Zechariah Smith, who was credited with the assist.
The tally was Miller’s first varsity goal after splitting time between JV and varsity last season.
“Coach tells us to run through the whistle and that’s what I did,” Miller said. “That was huge to score. It meant everything because it was against a good team. I’ve been waiting for that for my whole varsity career.”
Parness said his Spartans, now 2-1, were rewarded for keeping the pressure on.
“You have to create your own break and a couple of guys ran into each other,” Parness said. “Ugly counts, too.”
Outside of Miller’s goal, both offenses were kept in check for much of the game.
Smith, who was coming off a hat trick in Maloney’s 3-1 win earlier this week over Bulkeley, forced Berlin keeper Zachary Cancellieri to make a diving save in the 38th minute.
In turn, Maloney junior captain Devin Juan was forced to make a full-body save on Ethan Naumann about 30 seconds after Cancellieri’s stop.
Cancellieri finished with three saves, Juan with four.
“It was a great win,” Juan said. “We’ve worked hard in practice. We put pressure on the keeper and it worked out. We communicate well on defense and just play well together.”
Ivan Bruce, Alex Torres, Kale Mullings and Angel Mendez all performed well on the backline for the Spartans.
Maloney had the best of the chances in a scoreless second half. Smith hit the crossbar in the 58th minute and the post in the 68th minute. Miller had a shot on goal in the 63rd minute.
Berlin’s Peter Cohen had a shot wide left in the 76th minute. It was the best chance of the second half for the Redcoats (0-2-1).
It’s now two straight wins for the Spartans after dropping the season opener at Hall, 6-1.
“Our expectations are going for states right now,” Juan said. “We are going to focus on making it there and see what happens when we do.”
Parness said his Spartans battled on Thursday night.
“A lot of these guys are playing varsity soccer for the first time this year and that is a huge jump,” Parness said.