Just one year ago in Hartford, the Cheshire High School boys’ soccer team ended their fall season in frustration. In making the state title game for the first time since 1988, the Rams came up one goal short in a 3-2 loss to Farmington.
On Sunday night, Cheshire got their long-awaited redemption on the same field at Trinity Health Stadium. In the Class L final, the top-seeded Rams (16-3-1) posted a 3-1 win over Xavier (second seed, 18-3-2) to bring home their first state crown in 34 years.
The class title is the first for Head Coach Artur Branco.
The Rams jumped ahead 2-0 and never trailed in the game between Southern Connecticut Conference rivals. CHS struck first with 27:27 left in the first half, as junior Alex Clark lobbed the ball into the box and junior Will Stearns headed it into the net.
CHS extended their lead with 12:52 remaining in the opening frame. In the box, senior quad-captain Colin Brown made a touch pass to senior quad-captain Samir Dishnica, who powered through a tackle and then scored on a shot to the left corner.
Junior goalkeeper Nolan Kappus made a diving save in the first half, but the Falcons returned to cut the deficit at the 8:35 mark. Junior Mario Milardo converted on a feed from sophomore Diego Canellas.
Cheshire regained the two-goal edge just 4:48 into the second half. On a free kick by Dishnica, senior quad-captain Kevi Sulollari precisely timed a header into the net.
The Falcons had a chance to rally at the other end, but Kappus dove for another big stop with 14:24 remaining.
After the final seconds ticked away, the Rams celebrated together on the field. Dishnica was awarded MVP honors.
With season’s end, Cheshire will say goodbye to their senior class of Brown, Marchand, Dishnica, Kevi Sulollari, Luke Banach, Titus Barsczewski, Zach Chen, Jack Markarian, and John Tarca.
This story will be updated with comments.