Soccer is humming along at an elevated pitch

MERIDEN — We’re getting spoiled on the soccer front in these parts.

Southington played in the 2019 Class LL girls final and was perfect in the non-tournament season of 2020. Cheshire played in the 2021 Class LL boys final.

The Maloney girls just put together the best season in program history. The Cheshire and Sheehan girls are terrific rivals and perennial teams to watch.

Keep spoiling us.

There is reason to believe area soccer, which benefits from solid feeder programs in all four towns, will remain at an elevated pitch. Of our seven finalists for Record-Journal Boys and Girls Soccer Players of the Year, three are underclassmen.

The four seniors will carry the banner to the next level. Each is going on to play in college.

And while our slate of finalists tilts toward the offensive half of the field — a combined 56 goals were scored by this bunch in 2021 — we were sensitive enough to suit up a standout center-back and goaltender.

The goalie? southington senior Ryan Lun.

A worthy successor to his immediate predecessor, All-Stater Ryan Daddona, Lunn was a three-year starter who earned his All-State Class LL stripes in 2021 with eight shutouts in 16 games.

Lunn stopped 84 of 99 shots during the regular season and was named All-CCC West for a second straight year. He’ll continue playing at the University of New Haven.

The center-back? sheehan-senior Alicea Piscitelli.

A varsity player dating back to her freshman year, Piscitelli was not only the anchor of a defense that notched 11 shutouts in 2021, she was a pivotal piece of the offense, particularly on set pieces. As a senior, she recorded three goals and three assists. For her career, she scored six and set up 17.

At the end of the line, Piscitelli was named All-State Class M and All-SCC First Team. She’ll continue on to Iona College in New York, where she’ll be reunited with former Sheehan teammate Beth Arnold.

Our two other senior finalists are both heading to Southern Connecticut State: Cheshire’s Murphy Malone and Maloney’s Mackenzie McCormack.

Dial M for Murder, indeed.

Malone, with his footwork, field vision and flair, helped drive the Rams to the Class LL state championship game last fall. Malone scored both Cheshire goals in the 3-2 title game loss to Farmington, including one to the upper far corner worthy of a “Bend It Like Beckham” audition.

Malone finished with 12 goals and 12 assists his senior year and was named All-State Class LL and All-SCC First Team.

As for McCormack, she was a centerpiece of a Maloney girls resurgence that saw the Spartans go from 2-10-4 in 2018, when she walked in the door as a freshman, to 13-1-2 and the No. 2 seed in Class LL in 2021.

A proven scorer since her rookie year, McCormack was one of the most prolific soccer players in school history. With 13 goals and 12 assists in her senior season, McCormack finished with 34 goals and 18 assists for her career.

Like fellow future Owl Murphy Malone, McCormack was named All-State Class LL.

What the future may hold in store for our three underclass finalists is only partially known.

There’s Jessica Carr, junior extraordinaire over at Southington. She’s already committed to UConn.

For a second straight year, Carr was named All-State Class LL. (It’s fair to argue Carr should have made it as a freshman, as well; she was a key contributor on Southington’s 2019 state runner-up team.)

In 2021, Carr was coming back from an offseason injury and was a little slow out of the gate. She found her jogging and collected eight goals and five assists to lead the Lady Knights to a 9-2-6 season.

Down in Cheshire, Anna Hurlbut emerged last fall as an All-State player for the Rams. The junior scored nine goals, assisted on three and was strong defensively as Cheshire captured the SCC Quinnipiac Division, advanced to the Class LL quarterfinals and finished 11-7-1.

Hurlbut was named All-SCC First Team as well as All-State Class LL.

Our final finalist is the youngest. In fact, he’s one of the youngest we’ve ever had for Athlete of the Year in any sport.

He’s Wilcox Tech sophomore Kristian Colbert. A returning starter, Colbert scored eight goals in 2021, assisted on five others and was named All-State Class L.

In earning All-State, Colbert extends the Wilcox legacy of Kelvin Cortez, the 2018 Record-Journal Player of the Year who is now playing at Albertus Magnus College.

Combined with the 11 goals he scored in 2020 as a freshman, Colbert has 19 for his career. We will summarize the count in September.

On Deck: Field Hockey

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