There was no great on-field celebration for the East Haven boys soccer team on Tuesday. But the victory was significant for the program.
East Haven defeated Career/Hillhouse 3-2 in its season opener Tuesday night. It was the first Southern Connecticut Conference win for the Yellowjackets since the 2015 season.
“The boys reacted with complete class on the field. The response was as if we had been there before,” East Haven coach Michael Papantonio said. “There was no massive on-field celebration or disrespectful display of emotions. The postgame talk was congratulatory, positive and involved some raucous cheering, but that was reserved for the bus.”
The Yellowjackets’ last league win also came against Career/Hillhouse on Oct. 16, 2015. Since then, there has been a ton of losses and a couple of ties, although there have been a couple of wins along the way against some non-conference foes.
“The boys had been made aware of the history, but they are prepared to fight the reputation that East Haven is a walkover win for other programs,” Papantonio said. “For the coaching staff we need to keep everything in perspective and not let this early season success go to our heads.”
The win against Career/Hillhouse was on the road, as are the next three games. East Haven is scheduled to play its home games on the outfield grass of the varsity softball field.
Crisafi Field, the synthetic turf field used for all athletic events, was destroyed during a microburst in late August, mere days after the the new turf had been put in.
East Haven’s first home game is scheduled for Oct. 16 against Wilbur Cross.
“The boys, the seniors especially, are not satisfied,” Papantonio said. “To start the season with a win was huge, but we have lofty ambitions this year of competing with everyone on our schedule.”
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