BRANFORD, Conn. — For Stonington High's Alex Fidrych, dreams do indeed come true.
Fidrych scored the game's only goal early in the fourth quarter to lift the second-seeded Bears past No. 3 Thomaston, 1-0, in the semifinals of the Class S field hockey tournament Tuesday night at Branford High.
Stonington will play No. 4 North Branford, a 3-2 winner over Granby in the other semifinal, on Saturday in Wethersfield for the title. Stonington lost to North Branford, 1-0, earlier this season. A time for the game has not been finalized.
"I just told the team today I've been dreaming about it every single night," said Fidrych, a senior. "I've been so excited for the finals. Every single night I dream about it. It's just crazy."
Fidrych scored the winning goal with 14:24 remaining in the fourth quarter. The scoring sequence started when Maddie Mendez used her stick skills and speed to carry the ball down the right sideline.
She then crossed it to the left post where a wide-open Fidrych knocked it home. It was the second and final shot on goal of the game for the Bears.
"I saw Maddie bring it down and I was just ready at the post. And it came right to me. On the post, stick down and I just tipped it in. It was amazing," Fidrych said.
Stonington dominated the game after the first quarter, spending most of the play in Thomaston's end of the field. Despite the dominance, the Bears were unable to generate shots or penalty corners. They didn't get their first penalty corner until the 2:50 mark of the third quarter and finished with five for the game.
"Their defense was pretty good tonight," Mendez said. "I felt like they did come out and give us a run for our money tonight. We played the best we could and it come out our way."
Stonington (18-3) didn't get frustrated by its lack of shots and corners.
"I had full confidence in everybody today," Mendez said. "I knew we were going to come out and win this today. It was just a matter of time.
"Our forward line was so good attacking the goal and keeping the ball on the opposing team's side. I think the midfield did a great job offensively and defensively. And I think our defense did great in the back. It was the only way we could win this game, with everybody working together."
The goal was the ninth of the season for Fidrych, and it was the fourth assist for Mendez.
Stonington coach Jenna Tucchio said the Bears adjusted the spacing between their lines as the game progressed.
"We needed to tighten our lines to restart our transition game quicker," Tucchio said. "We were waiting too long for the backs to come up and generate those restarts. And we weren't generating much. So we tried to get the restarts quicker and our forwards and mids were tighter together."
Thomaston (11-2-2) did not have a shot or a penalty corner.
Stonington will be making its sixth appearance in a state championship game and its first since defeating Granby, 1-0, in 2013. The Bears lost in the semifinals in 2016, 2017 and 2018. A state tournament was not played in 2020 due to COVID-19.
"I can believe they are there because they earned it and they are talented enough, but it's still kind of surreal," Tucchio said.
For Fidrych and back Sophia Fernholz, the title game will carry a special meaning. Their brothers, Tyler Fidrych and Peter Fernholz, were players on the 2019 Class M boys soccer championship team. Fidrych had 25 goals and 34 assists, and Fernholz was the starting goalie.
"This summer during conditioning, me and Sophia Fernholz — because her brother is Peter, the goalie — we are like, 'We gotta get rings just like our brothers. We gotta get bigger rings than them.' So we have been motivated all season to do it," Fidrych said.