By BRIAN JENNINGS
For a minute, it seemed like the Blue Knight lacrosse team were heading down the wrong road, but Southington snapped a three game skid last Saturday with a 12-7 win over Valley Regional.
Coach Ron Chase said that he saw a physical style of play during the victory that hadn’t been seen all season.
“It’s tough to come back from a three-game skid like that, when two of those were one-goal losses that could have easily been won,” said Southington coach Ron Chase. “Some of the things we talked about is playing more physical, aggressive, and mean.”
Chase said that he and his coaching staff are trying to teach his players the physicality of the game, and they changed their offense to work towards the team’s strength.
“We just played a 6-on-6 scrimmage all day yesterday at practice and worked on our offense, and it worked today. I give a lot of credit to our offensive coach for installing that and changing it up.”
The Knights began the week at Conard on Thursday, April 26 where they fell, 12-5, in their first divisional contest of the season.
The Knights were knotted, 3-3, at the end of the opening quarter, but an offensive drought over the next two quarters put the game out of reach. The Chieftains held a four-goal lead at the half and pulled away with five scores in the second half.
Evan Johanns paced the offense with three goals. Ethan Thomson and Angelo Plantamuro scored. Garrett Brown finished with 21 saves in the cage.
Derek O’Connor (4) and Luke Seraechny (4) each scored eight for Conard.
“They don’t have any guys that are unbelievable. They just play a steady, smart game,” said Chase. “We made some mistakes that they capitalized on, and we didn’t play very physical.”
The Knights bounced back from Thursday’s loss with an even balance of six goals in the first half and six goals in the second half on Saturday, as they improved to a game above .500 to earn their fifth win of the season with a 12-7 victory over Valley Regional at home. The Warriors hung around for most of the game, trailing the Knights by three at the half, but Southington’s aggressive style of play eventually overwhelmed them in the end.
Tagan Welch marshaled the offense with four goals, and Thomson backed him with three scores. Johanns contributed with a pair of goals and five assists. Brown finished with 16 saves in the cage.
“We could have easily went down and made it a four-game skid,” said Chase. “But this is a great group of kids. They’re resilient and took it upon themselves to straighten it out. They ran the offense properly and did a good job of playing physical on defense.”
Chase said that the most credible player from Saturday’s game was freshman Ryan Walsh who filled in for starting juniors Matt Thompson and Rob Loffredo, who are out with season-ending injuries, to take over faceoff duties.
“He was fantastic today,” said Chase. “He’s been working with one of our assistant coaches on faceoffs a lot, and I think he really broke through today. He was about 90 something percent on faceoffs today and was a gamechanger.”
For more in depth coverage, see our weekly print edition. To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.