Boys Soccer Clinches Another BL Title Despite Tournament Cancellation

Zach+Thompson+warms+up+ahead+of+Nonnewaug%27s+4-1+win+over+Northwestern+on+Nov.+3+that+clinched+the+Berkshire+League+championship.%0A

Carolyn Montero

Zach Thompson warms up ahead of Nonnewaug’s 4-1 win over Northwestern on Nov. 3 that clinched the Berkshire League championship.

Cosmo Lovig, Sports Reporter

WOODBURY — The Nonnewaug boys soccer season has come to a conclusion due to the rise of COVID-19 cases among Region 14 schools. In addition, the boys Berkshire League tournament was canceled. However, there is much to look back on as the Chiefs took home back-to-back league championships.

Just prior to the school shutdown and the cancellation of the BL tournament, Nonnewaug athletic director Declan Curtin noted that the tournament would have included the top four teams in the league, which he said “were still to be decided.” However, it is fair to say that Nonnewaug would have been among the top four and competed for the tournament championship.

Seniors Zach Thompson and Jon Khazzaka shared both gratitude and frustration about the end of the season.

“Although I am upset about not being able to participate in the tournament, I am grateful that we were able to have a season,” Thompson said, echoing the feeling a lot of the boys had as the season ended.

Originally, they didn’t even believe they could have a season as they had to protest the district’s original choice to cancel fall sports.

Khazzaka was a little more frustrated by this decision to end the season.

“It did not feel right — felt like they pulled the plug for no reason,” Khazzaka said.

This conclusion of the season can hurt a lot for some of these seniors, as this may have been the last time they ever play competitive soccer. While Thompson says he is still undecided on if he will try to play Division III college soccer, the majority of the seniors understand that this is the end of the road for them. Thompson said he will miss the “community” around soccer at Nonnewaug.

“The players and coaches all are very welcoming and friendly, and it really feels like a family,” Thompson said. “You get to know kids you would have never met if it wasn’t for soccer.”

Despite the challenging season, the Chiefs still managed to put together an incredibly impressive record along with a range of personal achievements. Thomspon, senior Franco Pannofino, junior Aiden Colby, and junior Brendan Burke made first-team All-BL, while Khazzaka and senior Pedro Prates made second team. All-BL honorable mention Dylan Chung, a Canterbury transfer, stepped in at goalie and shared time with fellow sophomore Ben Stewart.

With all of these individual all-stars, the boys finished the season 11-1, bringing home back-to-back Berkshire League championships. 

The abrupt closing of Nonnewaug High School due to coronavirus concerns means winter season is now in jeopardy, similarly to how the fall seasons were in mid-summer. Although it is hard to tell what will happen with sports from here, it is always good to have hope.