MERIDEN – The emergence of freshman Noah Lopez continues to add fuel to Maloney’s fire.
Lopez scored two goals as the 15th-seeded Spartans made No. 34 Wilton’s second trip to Meriden this week more painful than the first with a 2-1 Class L second round win Wednesday at Falcon Field.
“Starting freshman – it’s amazing,” Lopez said. “It’s the greatest feeling in the world.”
Maloney, which has won eight of its last nine starts, travels to Madison Friday to face No. 10 Daniel Hand Friday night at the Surf Club (5 p.m.). Maloney goes into the Hand challenge with four straight wins.
“We’re just trying to survive and advance, right?” Maloney coach Dave Parness. “We said if we could get a home game, anything can happen. Teams get upset, and you have to put yourself in a position to be playing good soccer at the end of the year.”
The Spartans came into the matchup after a 2-0 defeat of Bristol Central on Monday. Wilton, which needed a qualifying-round win Saturday over New Fairfield to book its Silver City tour, overwhelmed Wilcox Tech 4-0 in the first round.
“They were good and they play in a big time conference (FCIAC) so that’s a good win for us,” Parness said.
Another Maloney freshman – goalkeeper Devin Juan – also made a contribution after missing the game against Central.
“We always talk about it; it’s next guy up,” Parness said. “[Senior keeper Guadalupe Martinez] did an outstanding job the other night and Devin was awesome tonight. He came out right away and made a big-time save right off the bat.”
Juan’s save preserved a 1-0 lead. He plucked the ball away from a Wilton shooter just after Lopez had provided the first Maloney goal.
A ball ricocheted to Lopez parked right in front of the goal mouth and he redirected it between his own legs and into the open net.
“We’ve been practicing that in practice,” Lopez said. “Coach has told me to stand in front of the keeper and just tip it in and that’s what I did. When it went in I was so shocked.”
The game teetered back and forth but the Spartans Maintained the one-goal lead at the half.
“We did everything we had to do to win the game,” Parness said .
The second goal came in the 69th minute off a restart. Denis Blandon launched a corner kick towards the front of the goal box and Lopez read the trajectory, created space and scored the crucial second goal.
“I put my head out, saw it go in, and that was it,” he said.
Michael Zizzardo’s goal for Wilton with 16:30 left in the game gavethe Spartans some anxiety but the defense was kept the Warriors (7-8-4) from enacting any late heroics.
Glastonbury 3, Southington 0: The second-seeded, homestanding Tomahawks scored three goals in the first half to eliminate No. 18 Southington from the tournament for the fifth time since 2007.
Glastonbury (14-2-1) controlled the match from the start. In the seventh minute, Sebastian Sanzaro slashed diagonally past his defender and found an opening at the right side of the net. Jacob Gardner scored in the 22nd minute and Matthew Cosentino completed the asault with a blast past keeper Evan Daddona (5 saves) from the midfield.
The best scoring chance for the Blue Knights (10-6-2) came in the 17th minute when Joe Colaccino controlled behind Glastonbury keeper Bennett Cole but was confronted by Zachary Gardner before he could push it across. The Knights also threatened two minutes prior to Glastonbury’s first goal when Alexis Frausto’s through-ball to Colaccino resulted in a shot that sailed high.
Glastonbury, which substituted liberally in the second half, forged a 14-4 advantage in shots and a 5-2 edge in corner kicks. The Tomhawks enjoy an 11-1-4 edge in the series dating back to 2004.