Wethersfield junior Oliver Pedneault controls the ball as Plainville’s Evan Giannini defends during the Eagles 4-1 victory at Cottone Field on Oct. 24.
After allowing a goal in the first five minutes of the match, Wethersfield boys soccer dominated the final 75 minutes en route to a 4-1 victory over Plainville on Oct. 24.
WHS head coach Rob Jachym admitted he was a little worried after the visiting Blue Devils struck first blood because, prior to last Tuesday, the Eagles hadn’t won a single game this season when they allowed a goal — shutting out seven opponents in their first seven wins this fall.
“That was a streak that we wanted to break,” joked Jachym. “It was a good response by the kids. Those goals are important for their confidence and you want to have some confidence going into the tournament.”
Playing under the glowing moon at Cottone Field, Evan Giannini provided Plainville the early advantage when he netted a shot four minutes and 25 seconds into regulation to break a scoreless tie.
A dozen minutes later, Wethersfield’s Ado Alihodzic tied it up on a penalty kick, which seemed to settle down the Eagles, who thoroughly controlled possession for the rest of the match.
Alihodzic finished with two goals and an assist to lead an offense that had been blanked in their previous two contests. The senior midfielder credited the team’s 4-2-2 formation, which opened up the field and reignited the offense against a Plainville team that entered the contest having won only two games all season.
“That gave us the ability to score some more goals,” added Alihodzic “When they scored that first goal everyone kind of woke up and we came to the realization that it’s not going to be an easy game.”
In the 19th minute, Alihodzic scored the go-ahead goal after getting a perfect feed from fellow senior Sean Khan, who tapped a pass to the left wing that Alihodzic drilled into the back of the net.
Khan, the team’s leading scorer this season is the only returning all-conference player from a season ago and has led an offense that scored four or more goals for the fifth time this fall.
With 10:23 left in the first half, Alihodzic fed Ciaran Bailey for a goal to up the lead to 3-1 at the break.
In the 67th minute, Ramo Ahmetovic added an insurance goal on a penalty kick to close out the scoring.
“It’s nice to get some of that confidence back tonight,” added Jachym. “I told the boys this is what it should be like after a game – we should be in a good mood. We haven’t had this in a while because we had a couple of tough losses, so it’s nice that we can get some confidence and go into the postseason on a positive note.”
The four goals were a good sign for a team that was coming off a pair of shutout losses, falling to Bristol Eastern 1-0 and Newington 2-0 in their last two games.
Prior to those two losses, the team had only one defeat all season behind a strong defense that has allowed over two goals only once and held seven opponents scoreless.
Starting goalie Nate Morris has protected the net and, after allowing the early goal, was flawless the rest of the night, making several key saves.
Jachym said that Morris is the team’s “extra security blanket” and added that his standout keeper and a strong backline have been consistent all fall.
“Nate is great,” added Jachym. “Just his presence alone. To get a goal against him you have to do something really good.”
The team wrapped up the regular season with a home win over Somers (2-0), registering the team’s eighth shutout and finishing the regular season with a record of 9-3-4.
Next up is the Class L tournament, with the first round slated to start on Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Senior Ado Alihodzic readies to send home a penalty kick to tie the match last Tuesday night.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin