NEW BRITAIN—Old Saybrook boys soccer coach Sam Barnes won state titles as a player during his junior and senior seasons.
Now, he has won back-to-back state titles in his final two seasons after coaching the Rams for 26 years.
No. 5 Old Saybrook beat No. 3 Holy Cross 3-1 in overtime of the CIAC Class S title game at Veteran’s Stadium for its second championship in-a-row.
“The boys dug down deep. We have been talking about defending our title, all year. For it to actually happen, is amazing,” Barnes said. “Junior and senior years of high school I won it back-to-back. That’s how I started it and it seems like a fitting way to end it, back-to-back, again.”
It is the sixth state championship for Old Saybrook.
After a back-and-forth first 70 minutes, Old Saybrook finally broke through with a goal by Colin Shulmeister off a pretty assist from Shon Ryan who dribbled past the defender marking him.
The lead did not last long as No. 3 Holy Cross answered back with Chris Christiano heading a ball home with 6:47 to play, tying the game.
The game remained tied into overtime until a push in the back was called on Holy Cross inside the box with 6:26 remaining in the first 15-minute overtime period.
Shulmeister calmly stepped up and knocked the chance home, putting the Rams in the lead.
Old Saybrook put an exclamation point on the win with a goal by Gannon Effinger with 1:20 left in the second overtime period.
Holy Cross was playing in its first championship game since 1985 and has never won a state title.
“I’m speechless because the kids put everything they could, heart and soul, into today’s game,” Holy Cross coach John Teixeira said. “Going through overtime, they kept digging and digging, trying to find a way to win. We didn’t get that lucky bounce today. I am proud of them for leaving it all on the field, today.”
Colin Shulmeister, Old Saybrook. Shulmeister scored two goals, closing his senior season in prefect fashion.
“It feels unbelievable. Having worked with these boys for all four years of high school, it’s insane to win it with all of them,” Shulmeister said. “Playing for (Barnes) was in the back of my head the whole time that this was his last game. We wanted to make it memorable for him. To win this, for him, was absolutely unbelievable.”
OLD SAYBROOK 3 HOLY CROSS 1 (OT)
HOLY CROSS 0 1 0 0--1
OLD SAYBROOK 0 1 1 1--3
Goals: OS—Colin Shulmeister 2, Gannon Effinger; HC—Chris Christiano. Assists: OS—Shon Ryan
Goalies: OS—Matt Rothman 9 saves HC—Cameron Sivilla 12 saves