By BRIAN JENNINGS
It wasn’t a win, but it’s a good blueprint of what Southington’s intensity level has to be game in and game out. Although the Blue Knight soccer team ended their first contest of the season in a 1-1 tie with Hall at home on Friday, Southington coach Dave Yanosy said that they now have a concrete example of how they have to put in a solid 80 to 90 minutes and attack games from a mental standpoint going forward.
“It certainly was an exciting game because the pace was just so quick,” the coach said. “Both teams were just pedal to the floor and really getting after it. We’re happy with getting a point out of it.”
For both teams, the contest was a tale of two halves. If you’re a soccer purist, you enjoyed the first half.
Tactically, both teams moved the ball around very well with short, quick passes. Following a scoreless first half, things got interesting.
About nine minutes into the second half, Joe Colaccino put pressure on Hall’s goalkeeper and made him play a little quicker than he might have wanted to. Colaccino forced the goalkeeper to turn the ball over and was in the right place at the right time, putting Southington on the board first by capitalizing on Hall’s mistake with a goal.
“I’ve been coaching for a long time, and I’ve seen just as many of those not get finished off because the forward wasn’t ready for it or wasn’t expecting it,” said Yanosy. “I give Joe credit for putting the pressure on the keeper to put him in an uncomfortable situation and reacting well when the opportunity did arise.”
Once Southington dented the scoreboard, the contest turned into an all-out battle. The pace of the game was frantic, becoming very physical and fast. The goal changed the landscape of how both teams played from then on out.
“With Hall, they had a little more urgency, being down 1-0,” the coach said. “With us, we realized that they were going to play with more urgency and upped our game as well. I was happy with the way we responded to that.”
About 15 minutes after Southington scored, Hall knotted the score with an own-goal on a deflected, free kick a little over 10 minutes later, sending the game into extra periods.
“It happens from time to time, even in professional soccer,” said Yanosy. “It was a ball that was played in with some pace, and our defender obviously had to go for it. It just ended up taking a deflection off his leg and in.”
Hall came close to stealing a victory with a good look at Southington’s net with 57 seconds remaining in the first overtime, but Evan Daddona didn’t let that happen. The Warriors headed a cross towards Southington’s goal in the penalty box. Daddona dove at a shot on goal and ripped the ball out of the air to make the save, which was one of the three saves he made in the game.
“It could have been one that could have turned into an easy rebound,” the coach said. “You never know what happens when there’s rebounds in front of the goal, but he was completely airborne and outstretched. He did a great job holding on to that one.”
Southington took 10 shots on goal and four corner kicks.
The Knights will be back on the turf next week with contests at divisional Conard (1-0) on Tuesday, Sept. 12 and Bristol Central (0-0) on Friday, Sept. 15.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2017/09/12/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-sept-15-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.