By BRIAN JENNINGS
It’s not an effort thing. It’s not a skill thing. It’s just an inexperience thing, and Southington boys lacrosse coach Ron Chase said that it’s okay. A pair of one-goal heartbreakers snapped Southington’s three-game winning streak this past week, but Chase said that he knows his players work hard and are learning as they approach the midpoint of the season.
“I’m watching film with the guys on my own and going through where we made our mistakes,” said Chase. “They are things that are fixable.”
Aside from the inexperience, the Blue Knights are battling injuries too. With key players Rob Loffredo and Matt Thompson now sidelined with season-ending injuries, four or five freshmen were on the field on defense at the same time during Saturday’s game.
“We’re making some mistakes now that are just due to inexperience,” said Chase. “That showed mostly on Saturday against Northwest. We had a lot of defensive breakdowns.”
However, as inexperienced underclassmen fill gaps in the varsity lineup, Chase said that the older experienced players are stepping up.
“Evan Johanns, Tagan Welch, and Ethan Thomson are scoring a lot of goals right now,” said Chase. “Seth Bogoslofski is really the only returning veteran at the midfield right now. He’s the guy who’s keeping things together up there and really working hard for us.”
The Knights will be back on the turf this week when they travel to Conard (4-3) on Thursday, April 26 for their first divisional game of the season and then return home to host Valley Regional (3-4) on Saturday, April 28. Southington is 4-3.
Southington’s three-game winning streak was snapped on Thursday, April 19 by a one-goal loss, 9-8, to Farmington at home.
Both teams went goal for goal throughout the game, as the Indians took a one-goal lead at the half. But the difference of the game was the second quarter. The Knights finished with three goals in the first, while the Indians scored three in the second. Both teams matched one another with three scores each in the third and a goal apiece in the fourth, but the Indians came away with a pair of scores in the first, while the Knights managed just one goal by the end of the second.
Evan Johanns paced the offense with three goals. Tagan Welch and Angelo Plantamuro contributed with two goals each. Garrett Brown finished with 15 saves in the cage.
“Farmington’s got a good team,” said Chase. “We were sharing goals the whole game, and they just happened to score the last one. We had a chance to tie it with 10 seconds left and didn’t do it, but we played pretty well overall.”
Although they hung with the Lions throughout much of the game, the Knights managed to rally back from a small deficit late in the fourth, but the Lions netted the go-ahead goal in the final few minutes. The Knights suffered their second-straight loss by a goal a couple of days later after falling, 12-11, to NW Catholic at home.
As a result of outscoring the other by a pair of goals in each of the first two quarters, both teams were tied at 7-7 at the half. However, the Lions outscored the Knights by a goal in the third, which made all the difference, after both went punch for punch with three goals each in the fourth.
Johanns (2 assists) and Ethan Thomson paced the offense with three goals each. Welch and Plantamuro contributed with a pair of scores each. Brown finished with 11 saves in the cage.
“We went down 5-1 in the first quarter,” said Chase. “Then we went up 6-5 in the second quarter. We could have cashed it in, but we didn’t. That just shows you what kind of character we have, and I give the kids a lot of credit.”
For more in depth coverage, see our weekly print edition. To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.