By John Goralski
Ian Powell broke through the Hall defense in the final minute of the game and blasted a shot past their keeper to knot the game at 2-2. For the second time in the second half, a comeback goal tied the game against the No. 6 team in the state.
Sure, the Knights are still winless after two weeks of play, but if you think it’s for lack of effort, you haven’t been following them.
“We played very well. Our team showed a lot of resiliency in coming back twice,” said Blue Knight soccer coach Dave Yanosy. “Unfortunately, they scored a great goal in overtime and were able to get the victory. I’m hoping we can build and gain some confidence from our ability to play well against one of the top teams in the state.”
On Friday, Sept. 19, the injury-riddled Knights battled the latest powerhouse rival on their schedule. This time, they managed to score, but but Southington still didn’t come away with a point.
Just two minutes into the first overtime period, Hall scored their third goal of the game, the gamewinner, and the Knights suffered their fifth straight loss at the start of the season.
As if matters couldn’t get any worse, it also marked the fifth straight that Southington entered play without their starting roster.
“We have to have some faith, a little bit of belief without evidence,” said Yanosy, who still feels that the Southington team has what it takes to make the postseason. “We haven’t played even one scrimmage with our full team. We’ve been riddled with injuries. We’re doing some really good things. If we can get healthy and stay the course, and keep working hard, that should generate into some points during the second half.”
The week began in West Hartford with a 3-0 loss against NW Catholic. It didn’t get any easier at home on Wednesday against undefeated Farmington for another 3-0 loss.
“The score was closer than 3-0. I know it’s cliché to say that, but it’s true today,” Yanosy said after the Farmington loss. “We played very well for stretches. We just couldn’t get the equalizer. Then, when we pushed some guys forward, it kind of opened up at the end. I was certainly pleased with their effort and the play that I saw from our team.”
In both games, the Knights were deadlocked through most of the contest with just a few lapses spelling the difference against a top team in the state.
“That’s a point of contention for me,” Yanosy said on Wednesday. “Yesterday, we worked on controlling corner kicks. Sure enough, Farmington’s first goal came when we missed our mark on a corner kick. It’s frustrating, but these are just minor instances. We switch it off for a second, and we get punished for it. That’s what good teams do, but if we clean those things up we’re as good as anybody.”
Southington’s deliberate attack has been able to hold onto possession. The Blue Knight passing has been better than it has been for years, but Yanosy found himself playing cheerleader after a game that most teams would be cheering about.
“It’s definitely some of the best soccer that we’ve been able to play,” said the coach. “We’re not young, but we’re inexperienced. We have some guys that are playing varsity soccer for long stretches without a ton of time. My feeling is that if we stay the course and keep trying, we’re only going to get better. I have a feeling that things are going to turn around. I think we’re right on the cusp.”
Things won’t get any easier in the near future. The injury-riddled team will try to turn the corner against two more conference foes. On Tuesday, they’ll host an undefeated Simsbury team (4-0-1) with another home game this Saturday night against Newington (1-4). That might be their best opportunity to turn things around.
“We just have to have that proper mentality, work hard, and things are going to turn around,” said Yanosy.
They just have to.
By John Goralski