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Article Published November 25, 2019
Hand Claims Fourth-Straight State Crown with Double Overtime Victory
Peter Vander Veer

The Hand boys’ soccer team was vying for its fourth-straight state title when the Tigers squared off against Wilton in the championship game of the Class L State Tournament at Dillon Stadium in Hartford on Nov. 23. In a classic contest that featured several twists and turns, Hand earned a 4-3 double overtime victory versus Wilton to bring the Class L crown back to Madison for the fourth year in a row and the seventh time in team history. The Tigers, who had reached the final by defeating Guilford on penalty kicks in the semis, completed their campaign with an overall record of 17-2-4.

After the two sides were tied 1-1 following regulation, No. 4 seed Hand and 10th-seeded Wilton played a pair of overtime periods to decide the state champion. Both teams had their offenses clicking by combining for five goals during the extra 30 minutes. With 8:08 to play in the second OT, senior Jack Green took a pass from junior Scott Testori and buried a goal to give the Tigers a 4-3 lead they would not relinquish.

Eight minutes later, Hand secured the victory to become the first high school boys’ soccer team in Connecticut to win four state titles in a row since Granby did so between 1984 and 1987.

“This not only means the world to me, it has to mean the world to our program,” said Testori. “It shows the dominance that Hand boys’ soccer has built up over the last three years. Hopefully, I’ll be a part of the five-peat if we’re able to get this far next year.”

In addition to assisting on the go-ahead score, Testori also netted a pair of goals for the Tigers in the victory. On the game-winner, Testori settled a bouncing ball near the end line and sent it backward into the goal-mouth area, where Green came in and knocked it home to give Hand a 4-3 lead in the 101st minute of the game. Green was named the Most Valuable Player of the Class L state final.

“I saw Scott get to the ball. I knew if I could get in position, I’d have a chance to put it in. It all worked out well,” Green said. “This was such a battle in those final 30 minutes. It can be hard to keep your focus. You’re getting tired. But we had so many fans and parents here. It becomes a mindset. You just have to take everything that you’ve learned on the training pitch and put it into action.”

Following a scoreless first half, Hand and Wilton traded goals in the second half of regulation. Testori gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead by scoring from senior Cole Finke 6:51 into the half, after which the Warriors tied the score on a goal by Nathan Bennett with 13:10 to play in the game.

In the first overtime, junior Chris Porte put Hand up 2-1 when he sent home a rebound of a shot by Testori just 2:18 into the period. Wilton made it 2-2 on a goal by Jacob Lash with 4:26 to go in the frame.

Testori, who was recently named the SCC Player of the Year, gave Hand a 3-2 edge when he headed a home goal following a free kick from junior Matt Luongo with 29 seconds left in the first OT. With 11:06 remaining in the second OT, the Warriors tied it up again when Liam McLaughlin converted on a free kick.

However, just three minutes later, Testori set up Green for the game-winning score to give 4-3 lead. Wilton had a few more chances, but Hand’s defense and sophomore goalie Timothy Perez kept the Warriors off the board to help the Tigers secure their fourth-consecutive state championship.

“I had a chance to see them [Wilton] earlier in the year. I came back and told my assistant coaches that I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up playing them somewhere down the road,” said Greg Cumpstone, who’s been the Tigers’ head coach for their last two state titles. “From what I saw in their game, I knew they’d be tough. They had individual players who could hurt you, and their combinations were going to create scoring chances for them.”

Hand wound up outshooting Wilton by a 26-13 margin for the game. The Warriors took seven corner kicks, and the Tigers had three. Perez made six saves in net for Hand.


The Tigers had advanced to the Class L state final by winning a 2-1 decision against No. 4 seed in a semifinal game that came down to penalty kicks at Middletown High School on Nov. 18. With the win, Hand gained a measure of revenge against Guilford after having taken a 1-0 loss to the Indians in the SCC championship game a few weeks ago.

Luongo scored from junior Jack Wilderman to give Hand a 1-0 advantage midway through the first half. Guilford tied the game by netting a goal 13 minutes into the second half.

With the game still tied after regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods, Hand outscored the Indians by a 4-3 score in the decisive penalty kick session. Testori, senior Ethan Coe, junior Jason Wallack, and senior Spencer Hartmann scored for the Tigers during PKs. The Indians missed on their final two kicks as one was stopped by Perez and the last one hit the crossbar.

• The athletes on the Hand boys’ soccer team are seniors Matt Fermo, Cole Finke, Jack Green, Ethan Coe, Parker McDevitt, Miller Salvo, Spencer Hartmann, and Carter Soboleski; juniors Eli Davies, Roman Barahona, Michael Wehrle, Matthew Luongo, Daven Pelaez, Sean Burke, Scott Testori, Ryder McMurray, Christopher Porte, Adam Laffargue, Jason Wallack, and Jack Wilderman; and sophomores Rhett Newton, Lucas Vest, and Timothy Perez.

• The Tigers finished with a record of 11-1-4 during the regular season. Hand posted two victories against Branford (5-3, 2-1), West Haven (7-0, 2-0), Law (3-1, 6-1), and Fairfield Prep (3-1, 3-0), along with one win apiece versus North Haven (7-1), Cheshire (2-0), and Shelton (1-0). The Tigers’ only loss was a 3-1 defeat to Shelton. Hand earned two ties with Guilford (2-2, 0-0) and one tie against Cheshire (0-0) and North Haven (4-4).

• Following the regular season, Hand competed in the SCC Tournament as the No. 1 seed. The Tigers claimed a 4-2 win over No. 8 Amity in the quarterfinals and a 1-0 overtime win versus No. 4 Shelton in the semis to advance to the final, where Hand took a 1-0 loss to No. 2 Guilford.

• As the No. 4 seed in the Class L State Tournament, Hand earned a bye through the first round. The Tigers started the draw by posting wins over No. 13 Rockville (4-0) in the second round and No. 12 Pomperaug (3-1) in the quarterfinals. Hand notched a 2-1 (4-3 on PKs) victory against No. 8 Guilford in the semifinals, followed by a 4-3 double overtime win against No. 10 Wilton in the final to take the Class L state title for the fourth-straight season and finish the year at 17-2-4 overall.

• This marks Hand’s seventh Class L state title and the eighth time the Tigers have played in the final. Hand defeated Maloney (1-0) in 2018, Masuk (2-1) in 2017, and Barlow (1-0 in 2OT) in 2016, shared the title with Woodstock Academy after a 0-0 tie in 1997, beat Farmington (5-1) in 1995, and Newtown (4-1) in 1993. Hand took a 2-0 loss to Wethersfield in the 1999 Class L final.