HARTFORD — Scott Testori brought his pair of Class L state championship rings to Monday’s state semifinal against Guilford, a game Hand won in penalty kicks.
Testori decided to bring them again on Saturday to Dillon Stadium. The Class L state championship was on the line. And it took more than regulation to settle it.
In fact, five goals were scored in the extra session. Hand scored the last one — Jack Green from Testori — and the fourth-seeded Tigers defeated No. 10 Wilton 4-3 for the program’s fourth consecutive state championship.
“It means the world, the way we worked, the way we pushed after they scored,” Testori said. “To keep this winning tradition alive, an excellent performance.”
Said Hand coach Greg Cumpstone: “Credit to the boys to stick it out and for still believing. … It’s a mental thing and we showed that today. It’s mental, it’s spirit, it’s skill, it’s quality have to be good to score goals against this team.”
So this will add to the ring collection for Testori and the Tigers (17-2-4). Hand completed the four-peat in dramatic fashion: the two teams combined for five goals in the 30-minute overtime session.
“It was a real battle in those last 30 minutes,” said Green, the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. “It’s really hard to stay focused with the whole occasion, all the fans, your parents and everyone, it’s really about taking what you learn and put into action on the field. … Being a part of the program for four years, winning a state championship every year is something special. It doesn’t happen often. I’m glad I could be a part of it.”
The last team to win four straight was Granby in Class S from 1984-87.
Wilton (13-4-6) answered the first three times the Tigers scored, twice in overtime.
“The kids fought valiantly. We came up short. Daniel Hand played us well. We couldn’t find that last gear to finish off opportunities,” Wilton coach Edwin Carvajal said. “Little moments of just silly fouls here and there just hurt us.”
Chris Porte scored less than 3 minutes into overtime for Hand. Jacob Lash answered a little over 8 minutes later for Wilton to tie the game at 2.
“We knew Wilton had the capabilities to score against us. We knew we had to get goals,” Cumpstone said.
Testori, the Southern Connecticut Conference Player of the Year, scored his second goal 9 minutes into overtime on a header — in similar fashion to the one he scored in regulation.
It was also similar to the one Testori had in last year’s final against Maloney, a 1-0 win. The junior striker has four goals in three state finals (beating Masuk as a freshman in 2017).
Liam McLaughlin scored less than 4 minutes into the second OT to tie it at 3. Then Testori was able to run down a ball and slip a pass to Green in the 101st minute.
“(Testori) got control of it trying to find position and I had an easy tap-in,” Green said.
Said Testori:’ Jack Green was there. A great finish by him. ... The last one was when we really said, ‘All right, we’re not giving them the lead, we’re not letting them tie this game, we’re not doing co-champions.’”
Now the Tigers get to bask in the glory of a four-peat — then start prepping for the drive for five.
“Looking back, this is something we will all remember for a long, long time. Hopefully forever,” Cumpstone said.