Panthers’ magical run ends with CIAC State Tournament semifinals loss to Notre Dame

Masuk goalie Connor Kehlenbach displayed defensive dominance throughout the playoffs. Photo by Varshil Patel

STRATFORD, CT — The Masuk Panthers boys soccer team, which ranked 13th, fought its way to the semifinals of the CIAC State Tournament against No. 8 ranked Notre Dame of West Haven at Bunnell High School Wednesday night. By halftime, they were deadlocked at 1-1, before losing a 2-1 heartbreaker.

“Notre Dame West Haven was a great team and unfortunately we were not able to get the win,” Masuk Coach Brendan Cavanaugh said. “They were fast, technical, smart on the ball and constantly putting us under pressure.”

The Panthers fell behind 1-0 early, when the Green Knights scored with 20:45 left in the first half.

But Masuk answered with 14:04 left in the half, when Owen Correll scored a goal.

Notre Dame broke the 1-1 tie on a penalty kick with 30:03 left in the second half and, despite a strong effort, Masuk was unable to answer.

Cavanaugh praised his players for all they accomplished this season.

“I think a lot of people thought once they scored on us the game was over, but we got one back and fought till the very end,” he said. “We proved a lot of people wrong this year and I am extremely proud of my boys. It was definitely a season to remember. The captains and seniors did an amazing job all year and they will be sorely missed.”

In its 64-year-history, the Masuk boys soccer team made it to the Championship Game once in 2017, but was defeated. It also lost in the semifinals in 2003. Cavanaugh said the Panthers have a good core of underclassmen, so he’s hoping to continue to build upon the success of the program.

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