By KEVIN ROBERTS
Southington boys soccer started off last week with a frustrating 3-2 loss to Avon on Oct. 1 on the home turf of Fontana Field. Next up was Bulkeley at home on Oct. 4, and the Knights were able to scrap for a 1-0 win over the Bulldogs.
The victory snapped a five-match winless streak, and Southington improved to 2-4-1 on the season.
It got a little frenetic near the end of the Bulkeley game. Southington almost played as if it were trailing 1-0 instead of being ahead by a goal.
“That’s something that goes along with winning and it goes along with experience. You start to develop a knack for how to close games out the right way without panicking,” coach Dave Yanosy said. “I told the guys, there’s not a team that we play that’s an easy win. There’s not a team that we go into saying that’s going to be a win.”
Sophomore keeper Ryan Lunn had a rough outing against Avon, despite making some great saves. He finished that game with six saves, but also saw the ball go in his net three times. In the game against Bulkeley, Lunn came up big in the second half. He ended the Bulkeley game with three saves.
“He did a good job today, he responded well, and he made some key saves for us today, especially down the stretch,” Yanosy said about Lunn.
Southington’s lone goal came off the right foot of senior captain Joseph Tellerico. Tellerico, no stranger to scoring on free kicks, had one in near the Southington bench in the first half. Tellerico put a ball into the Bulkeley box, and the wind carried it through the hands of the Bulldog keeper into the goal for a 1-0 lead with 17:34 left until halftime.
“It was a little bit of a fortunate goal for us, but at this point, I think we deserve a few of those,” Yanosy said. “The guys have worked hard all year. For us to get a break, I think it’s evening out for us a little bit. We’ll take it.”
Tellerico had one of Southington’s two goals against Avon. The other goal was scored by Cole Marek. Unfortunately for the Knights, the Falcons found the goal one more time than they did.
Things changed for Southington against Bulkeley, especially in the second half, and the very windy conditions had something to do with it. The Knights had to go against the wind, and Yanosy didn’t see that as a disadvantage.
“One of our things is sometimes we get a little too married to north-south and playing the long ball,” Yanosy said. “We couldn’t do that in the second half, and it kind of forced us to play a little more simple, and I thought we did that in the second half. We played a little bit better soccer because the conditions made us do it.”
Possession-based soccer takes more time off the clock, and that leaves less opportunity for the opponent to strike. Southington played physical against Bulkeley and didn’t allow a ton of shot opportunities. It was never easy, however, and the visitors fought until the final buzzer.
“We bent a little bit, but we didn’t break. Each win is important for us,” Yanosy said. “Whether it’s a gritty or a pretty win, each one is important. It’s certainly nice to get back in the win column.”
Up next: Southington is on the road for two games this week. The Knights played at NW Catholic on Monday. Southington was scheduled to play Maloney at Meriden’s Falcon Field on Thursday.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com