By John Goralski
The Blue Knights survived an 0-5 start and a season mired in injuries. They survived six overtime contests and came away with three wins and a tie.
It seemed fitting that steady rains and a driving wind enveloped the field in the season finale. Even the weather seemed to be pitted against this year’s Knights.
“They made this an exciting season, and they worked extremely hard,” said Blue Knight coach Dave Yanosy. “I’m proud of them. There were a few times that they could have packed it all in, but they didn’t. They worked really hard right until the last second, and I’m really proud of them for that.”
To qualify for the postseason, Southington needed wins in both contests in the final week, and they nearly reached that goal. On Monday, they battled Newington for two scoreless halves on the road before taking the lead in overtime.
With 3:44 remaining in the first extra period, Brian Doyle kicked a ball into the open field, and Ian Powell converted the score. The Knights held off the Indians down the stretch and escaped with a 1-0 win.
That set up a meaningful, must-win game in the finale.
“We knew that it was going to be like this down the stretch, and the boys put their heads down and worked hard,” said Yanosy. “We knew that Newington was going to fight, and New Britain did that as well. We just couldn’t come away with the last win tonight.”
For much of the game, it could have gone either way. New Britain managed five shots on goal, and the Knights matched each attempt. Southington held possession for much of the contest, but with 2.5 seconds left in the opening half, New Britain capitalized on a fast break and scored the game-winner.
“I give him credit. He was able to hit it. He put it in a tough spot, and that was the difference tonight,” said Yanosy. “We had a good stretch and played a lot of good soccer. From top to bottom we were competitive. Even though our record might not indicate it, there weren’t a lot of games that were laughers. The guys worked hard, and you can’t say enough about their effort.”
The victory marked the end of Southington’s season. The Knights finished with a 5-10-1 record (4-9-1 in the CCC West), but Yanosy believes that the team has finally turned the corner. He credits his seniors.
“Even though they won’t be around to reap the benefits, I think that they were the start of something special,” said the coach. “They committed to playing a little better brand of soccer this year. Our two captains—Ian Powell and Tom DelBuono—did a great job keeping the guys together, and hopefully this is the start of something positive for our future.”
By John Goralski