By BRIAN JENNINGS
It wasn’t the heartbreaking, double-overtime loss at RHAM that got their coach’s attention. It was the way his Blue Knight soccer team responded a couple nights later at Simsbury that made their coach very proud.
“Their play tonight showed that we learned from that and made some adjustments, and we were rewarded for it moving forward,” said Southington coach Dave Yanosy. “Given the effort and play that we got tonight, if we can get this type of performance on a consistent basis, I feel pretty good about it moving forward.”
Although the Knights are just a win and a tie shy of qualifying for the Class LL tournament for the third-straight year with five games remaining in the regular season, Yanosy said that the team is looking at those five games with a sense of urgency.
“I don’t think it does anyone any good to act or think as if you have tons of time because we don’t,” the coach said. “We’ve played really well, and then we’ve had some days where we necessarily haven’t played our best. But I’m hoping that we’ve got more games like this in the last five and are peaking at the right time.”
The Knights will be back on the turf this week when they host Avon (6-3-2) on Monday, Oct. 16 and then head out on the road for Newington (2-7-1) on Friday, Oct. 20. Southington is currently 4-5-2.
Loss at RHAM
OCT. 10—Southington’s two-game winning streak was snapped after the Knights fell by a goal, 3-2, in double overtime at RHAM on Tuesday.
With about two minutes left in the second overtime, RHAM’s Derek Wood headed the game-winning goal off a free kick.
“It was a free kick into the mix, and their kid clearly won the header,” said Yanosy. “We didn’t challenge well for it in that type of situation.”
Elijah Rodriguez and Joe Colaccino scored Southington’s lone two goals in the game. The Knights took nine shots on goal. John Griffin saved 10 shots in the net.
Win at Simsbury
OCT. 12—The Knights bounced back from their double overtime loss at RHAM by earning their fourth win and third shutout of the season with a 2-0 triumph at Simsbury on Thursday.
Kieran Tindall scored Southington’s first goal in the first half on a free kick from about 30 to 40 yards out that made its way through a crowd of players.
“In the pros in the Premiere League, you play them far post because keepers are good, six-foot-six, are coming out, and are going to clear it out if you put it anywhere in the box,” said Yanosy. “But for high school keepers, that is a tough play for them. We haven’t really put them in spots where it would be one touch in the goal like we did today.”
When a Trojan attempted to clear a ball out of the penalty box less than five minutes into the second half, Colin Burdette blocked the kick and maintained possession, sailing a shot over the goalie’s head to the right corner of the net for the second goal.
“It had some pace on it, was well struck, and it came at a good time too,” the coach said. “Scoring early to make it 2-0 in the second half is tough. We knew that they were going to come at us pretty hard in the second half, but that kept them at bay and gave us a little more cushioning and confidence moving forward.”
Griffin halted three crucial shots on goal in the second half, finishing the game with seven saves.
“If you give one right back, sometimes that’s a big momentum shift,” said Yanosy. “Those were good, quick, reflexive saves.”
You won’t find Bryce Worth’s name on the stat sheet for goals or saves, but Yanosy highlighted his name in the team meeting following the victory for his aggressiveness and physicality on the field, especially in the first half.
“He’s been a kid who’s played a little, played a lot, played a ton, and hasn’t played at all,” the coach said. “I thought he actually really set the tone for us today, in terms of his physicality, winning headers, and 50-50 balls.”
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2017/10/17/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-oct-20-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.