By BRIAN JENNINGS
Ryan Burrill placed the ball just outside the box as he lined up his shot. The Windsor players stood in front of him like statues, but that didn’t affect him. After taking a few steps back, Burrill charged the ball and booted a screaming shot that curled right over the Windsor defenders.
The goalie dove to the side, but could not get there in time, as the ball embraced the back of the net for a goal.
It didn’t come until the second half of the game, but Burrill’s goal off of a free kick gave the Blue Knights (1-0) a 1-0 lead, as they went on to defeat Windsor (0-1) 2-0 in their season opener at home on Friday, September 11. Brian Doyle scored the second goal shortly after on a header assisted by Eric Schneider.
“I thought we had a little bit too much of a wait-and-see-type attitude versus really coming out and trying to dictate the style of play and the rhythm of the game,” said Yanosy. “I was pleased with their response though. It was 0-0 at halftime and they had the right response. They added energy and put forth the necessary effort to get the job done in the second half.”
The Knights defeated Windsor 3-2 in overtime last season, and Yanosy said that they knew what to expect from Windsor this time around.
“It’s hard to compare because that game was an October game,” said Yanosy. “Both teams had a bunch of games under their belt and figured some things out. With today being opening day, it was one of those days where we knew Windsor was going to come in based upon last year. Just in general, in the times that we have played them, Windsor has always been really strong and has given us a really good game. We expected a game and they certainly gave us a game today.”
The Knights had 13 shots on goal and three corner kicks. Evan Doyle had eight saves on goal for the Knights. Windsor had four shots on goal and two corner kicks. Windsor’s Connor Bailey had 13.
If the Knights are to be successful and make a run at qualifying for the state tournament, Yanosy said that they have to push the confidence.
“Like I’ve said over the last few years, these guys haven’t been 10-5 or 14-2,” said Yanosy. “They don’t have a ton to draw on. So, my job is to really push the confidence level and get them to start believing because it’s true that they’re a good team.”
Coming into the season, set pieces were a concern for the Knights, and Yanosy said that they are still a work in progress. However, Yanosy also said that he saw some progress in the game.
“Getting a little bit more physical and aggressive on the set pieces is going to benefit to us,” said Yanosy. “Even today, we had a decent amount of them. Bryan Doyle did a great job and it was good to see that we actually got one off of a long throw-in, which is important for us. We need to get more of those.”
Friday’s game was played on the lower soccer field of the high school, but the rest of the Knight’s home games for the 2015 season are scheduled to be played on the turf field. The Knights will look to build on with games against Farmington (1-0) and Conard (0-1) this week.
To comment on this story or to contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.