Old Saybrook boys soccer rallies for dramatic Class S semifinal victory over Somers in OT

Members of the Old Saybrook boys soccer team celebrate their Class S semifinal victory over Somers Thursday. Old Saybrook won 5-3 in overtime.

Members of the Old Saybrook boys soccer team celebrate their Class S semifinal victory over Somers Thursday. Old Saybrook won 5-3 in overtime.

Joe Morelli / Hearst Connecticut Media

NEW BRITAIN — The dream of a three-peat in Class S was on life support Thursday night for the Old Saybrook boys soccer team.

In fact, it was 2 seconds from ending. Somers held a one-goal lead, but Cam D’Angelo came charging at the goal.

He didn’t score, but he was tripped up in the penalty box. A penalty kick was awarded. D’Angelo wasn’t about to end his season there.

The junior scored, then scored early in overtime and No. 2 seed Old Saybrook went on to beat No, 6 Somers 5-3 in the Class S state semifinals at Veterans Stadium.

“The guy kind of tugged on my arm and tripped me from behind,” D’Angelo said. “I was just composed. I knew I was going to make it the second I got it.”

Nick Rothman scored early in the second overtime period for the Rams (18-0-3), who will face No. 8 Canton, a winner over No. 4 Griswold in penalty kicks, in Sunday’s championship game at 6:30 p.m. at Dillon Stadium in Hartford.

Old Saybrook won Class S in both 2018 and 2019, and also in 2016. There was no state tournament last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Old Saybook coach Steve Waters will be attempting to win his 10th state championship, but first with the Rams’ program. The state’s career coaching victories leader in the sport won his other nine at Farmington.

It was a physical game Thursday. There was some banter back and forth between the coaching staffs.

“They tried to out-foul us and beat us up. We had to absorb those fouls. They probably fouled us 25, 30 times. They were very mentally tough,” Waters said.

After a scoreless opening half, the goals started to pour in. Three were scored in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.

Thomas Lafayette scored both goals for Somers less than 6 minutes apart. D’Angelo cut the deficit in half for Old Saybrook less than 3 minutes after Lafayette’s second goal.

Patrick Brown gave Somers a 3-1 lead. The rain had started to fall by then.

That score remained until there was 5:30 remaining in regulation. Old Saybrook scored to cut it to 3-2, setting up the dramatic final seconds.

“I told them going into overtime, ‘There is a lot of emotion out there. Don’t play with emotion, play with passion,’” Waters said.

After D’Angelo’s go-ahead goal, Hunter Hogan picked up a yellow card, then a red card for Somers. Players from Somers also began to cramp up as the rain intensified.

“We’ve showed a lot of character throughout the season,” D’Angelo said. “I think that really elevated our ability to stay in it and stay mentally strong after we tied the game. They definitely lost their heads and we got those go-ahead goals.

Said Waters: “You saw how much they cramped up. We’re fit and the guys know they’re fit. Once you have a fitness level, the technical and tactical stuff is easier to overcome.”

joseph.morelli@hearstmediact.com; @nhrJoeMorelli