Newington captain #10Trey Sadler competes for the ball
It’s been an up and down season for Newington boys’ soccer, who suffered their third straight loss last Tuesday.
Despite falling 2-1 to visiting Plainville, head coach Jeff Brunetti sees the promise and potential in an Indians team that has been competitive in every game.
The loss to Plainville, the defending Class M champs, was the team’s third one-goal defeat in 2019.
“I think we have a lot of talent throughout our program. We love to play, so I’m not disappointed or discouraged. Our time will come and if we keep working hard, like we did at moments in this game against Plainville, they’ll find a lot of success,” said Brunetti, who is in his eighth season as the head coach and 15th season overall with the program, “I’m excited about the team still. We have some very good things going for us, it’s just a matter of if we finish. We are very dangerous, we’re not an easy team to play for sure.”
Plainville’s Patrick Gryczewski broke a 1-1 tie early in the second half, scoring the eventual game-winner when he fired a shot past goalie Nicholas Cox.
Following Gryczewski’s goal, Alex DiPaola nearly tied things up twice for the home team.
The first came 20 minutes into the second half when DiPaola receiving a great pass from Trey Sadler and hammered a kick toward the upper right corner of the goal, but Blue Devil goalie Brennan Staubley reached out with his right hand and sent the ball ricocheting off the cross bar.
Less than two minutes later DiPaola again made great contact with the ball but his shot sailed high.
“It was well hit, he just happened to get his hand up. That one was going in if he didn’t touch it. It was a world-class save” Brunetti said of the Staubley’s swat, “We have to keep giving ourselves those opportunities and today we got a couple of those. That will be important for us going forward.”
Senior Ryan Saindon scored the Indians only goal on a pass from freshman Tyler Ferreira, who has been a pleasant surprise for Brunetti this fall.
“I think this experience that he’s having this year is fantastic. The reason he’s on the field is because he’s consistent, he plays smart, and he plays quick. There are times that he makes freshman mistakes but that’s okay because most of the stuff that he does is fantastic on the field,” said the veteran coach, who has a blending of experience and youth on his roster, “You need to be developing players constantly that can step in and prepare for next season.”
Defensively the team has been sound most of the year, not allowing more than three goals in any game.
Cox, who was hurt in the first half against Plainville and came back to finish the game, registered double digit saves for the fifth time this season.
“He’s been phenomenal, he fit right into the position. Consistency is huge for him and he’s got great hands and reads the game well,” Brunetti said of Cox, who was the backup keeper a season ago, “He came up big in a game against Farmington, where he had 16 saves, and he’s made some saves this year that have kept us in games.”
A three-game winning streak, including an impressive 3-2 triumph over Farmington, showed what the team is capable of.
Unfortunately a tough schedule and some key injuries have taken its toll, leaving the team in need of a surge over the final four games of the regular season.
“We always talk about communication and quick play. That has to be better,” said Brunetti, “Communication throughout the field with the entire team, I want to hear it. We work on that in training session and then speed of play, making quick decisions so we can attack.”
A bulk of the offensive attack has come from Sadler, Reed Campbell and Christian Amaral, who have accounted for 10 goals and five assists through the first 10 games.
Amaral is a sophomore that has blossomed this season, learning from a rotation of captains that includes Sadler, Saindon, Evan Sanford, and Nathan dos Santos.
Following the loss to Plainville, the Indians rebounded with a 4-1 win at Bloomfield, improving the team’s record to 4-5-2 entering the week.
Up next is another tough home test against Glastonbury, this Friday (Oct 25) at 3:45. The team closes with rivalry games against New Britain, Rocky Hill, and Wethersfield.
Win, lose, or draw – Brunetti wants to see the team finish strong.
“We do have a young team that has played well. We’re still turning heads and we can surprise some people. I have all the confidence in the world in anyone that I put on the field. I love this team and I’m excited about the skill and what they can do in games. We’re going to keep plugging away until the end of the year.”
Newington senior #15 Alex DiPaola attacks during a 2-1 loss to Plainville
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin