It’s 67 miles, or an hour and 25 minutes on a school bus, from Old Saybrook High School to Litchfield High.
On Friday morning, it was just one more bus ride for Old Saybrook’s Steve Waters, in his 39th year of coaching boys soccer.
But this one was a little more special – Old Saybrook beat Litchfield 2-0 in a Class S quarterfinal game and Waters got his 600th career victory.
“That’s a lot of bus rides,” Waters said.
Fifth-seeded Old Saybrook, last year’s Class S champion, will play the winner of Oxford and Coventry, next week at a time and place to be determined in the semifinal game.
Senior Cam DeAngelo scored both goals for Old Saybrook (16-1-2).
Waters, 64, who became the state’s winningest boys soccer coach last fall, has a 600-94-56 record. He coached Farmington for 36 years, where he won 559 games and nine state titles. He retired in 2018 then came back to Old Saybrook, where he was an assistant in his second year of coaching, to serve as an assistant coach.
He’s been the Rams’ head coach for three years and Old Saybrook has won three state titles in the last four years (the 2020 state tournament was canceled due to COVID-19).
Waters didn’t tell the players about the milestone; they were more concerned about the early start of the game (10:30 a.m.), which was changed to beat the rain.
“[Thursday] that was our focus, to make sure we were mentally ready for a 10 a.m. game because we haven’t played that many of those,” DeAngelo said.
“He didn’t say anything [about the 600 wins]. That was probably to keep us focused on our goal here.”
The goal is to return to the state championship game, where DeAngelo, the MVP of last year’s final, scored twice and Old Saybrook won 4-1 over Canton in overtime.
Five players are gone from last year’s team but the core is back and Old Saybrook still has no problem scoring. Waters said the Rams haven’t been shut out since Oct. 2019.
DeAngelo has 26 goals this season, including a second-half goal Friday after he returned to the game after getting a cleat to the shin and twisting his ankle.
“It was a little swollen, but you got to play through it,” DeAngelo said.
Lori Riley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.