For many years, E.O. Smith and Fermi have been among the top boys soccer teams in the CCC East. Whenever the two schools meet, the games are highly competitive and go down to the final moments.
Such was the case Tuesday in Enfield, when the teams engaged in another equally-played matchup. Each club had strong scoring chances and received fine play from its goalkeeper. In the end, the Panthers made the most of their opportunities, converting once in each half to post a 2-0 victory.
"We have appreciated the rivalry over the past four years or so," E.O. Smith John Blomstrann said. "The games have been very close and played with great sportsmanship."
Games at Fermi are a sort of homecoming for Blomstrann, who was a star player at Enfield High School in the early 1970s and was inducted into the Enfield Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000. He has helmed five Class LL state championship in his tenure with the Panthers.
His current squad had the first real chance in Tuesday's game, but Mitchell Taintor hit the goal post on a breakaway. Fermi's Conor Glettenberg had two great opportunities midway through the first half, but was stopped both times by Panther goalkeeper Xavier Fegan.
Taintor broke through with 7:49 left in the opening session, taking a pass from Darren McCall and breaking in alone on Fermi goalkeeper Austin Davis.
In the second half, Liam Kissane just missed an early chance for the Panthers, while Quenton Swift came close on two occasions for the Falcons.
McCall added an insurance goal for E.O. Smith with 10:02 left to play, converting a head ball flicked over the center backs by Kissane.
Taintor and Alex West were both injured during the second half, forcing Blomstrann to juggle his lineup, including moving senior Luke Melody to center back. "He always does whatever the team needs to win the game. He is a true captain and someone the team can always count on when the game is on the line," Blomstrann said.
Despite being kept off the scoreboard, Fermi played a strong offensive game. "I thought Kyle Kazukynas and Chris Desautels both played very well in the midfield," Blomstrann said. "They picked off a lot of passes, made a lot of tackles and also created a lot of Fermi's best chances with good passes after they won possession."
E.O. Smith, which remains unbeaten at 3-0-2, travels to Hartford Public Wednesday at 3:45 p.m. Fermi (3-3) hosts Rockville Monday at 6:30 p.m.