Newington soccer captains (l-r) Jack Stair, Tyler Ferreira, and Beckham Alderucci have led the way as the Nor’easters won their first six games this fall.
It is said that iron sharpens iron and, if so, Newington High School boys’ soccer got a little sharper last week.
Despite a 1-0 road defeat at Glastonbury on Oct. 6, the Nor’easters battled valiantly until the final whistle and showcased what they could do against one of the best teams in the state.
Both teams entered undefeated and even though the Nor’easters came away one in the loss column, head coach Jeff Brunetti liked how his team responded to the adversity.
“We lost to a very good Glastonbury team. I thought we got outplayed by them, especially in the first half, but we played much better in the second half and I love that,” added Brunetti. “It is a great measuring stick. We know that we can play toe-to-toe with them and that excites me more. It shows the spirit of this team and the energy that we have.”
Prior to the game with Glastonbury, Newington had dominated their previous six games — outscoring the first half dozen opponents by a combined score of 23-2.
On Oct. 3, they earned win #6 with a 5-0 shutout of Wethersfield on Cottone Field at Wethersfield High School. It was the fourth time the Nor’easters had blanked an opponent this fall.
“It’s amazing,” senior forward Beckham Alderucci said of beating the Eagles, who are the defending Class L state champions. “It always feels good to beat your rivals.”
Alderucci and Jack Stair are leading the offensive change, each tallying seven goals over the team’s first seven games.
Stair said it’s a collective effort on the offensive end, adding “There is not just one guy on this team that sticks out; it’s a bunch of guys that are willing to make that extra pass. It doesn’t matter who scores at the end of the day, as long as we get the win.”
The senior scoring duo is captaining the team with Tyler Ferreira, who saw his first action of the season against Glastonbury after missing the first six games with a hamstring injury.
“It feels great, there is only so much you can do from the sidelines,” Ferriera, a center midfielder, said of being able to compete again, “I could give guys words of encouragement or advice, but being out here I can help with my actions.”
Brunetti praised Ferreira for his willingness to help during his rehab, adding, “Tyler has been fantastic on the sidelines. He’s doing leadership things that go above and beyond and I think from that role he has learned a tremendous amount.”
Senior Bryce Cordeiro, junior Adam Eley, along with sophomores Anthony Napoletano and Christian Rosado are manning a defensive front that has only allowed three goals in 560 minutes of action
“We are strong. I am really happy with the way that they are playing and with our consistency,” Brunetti said of his defensive front. “All the players are willing to win headers and do the necessity work it takes to play good defense”
Protecting the net are rotating goalies Dakota Hawes and Gavin Williams.
Hawes, a senior, was the incumbent starter and played the first half against Glastonbury, surrendering a goal to Adam Molusis in the 36th minute. Williams is a sophomore who played the entire second half in the loss, stopping every shot he faced.
Brunetti likes Hawes’ height and ability to win balls in the air, while complimenting Williams for his quick feet and ability to come out to challenge attacks.
“Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but I’m confident with our defense and with either one of them in goal,” added Brunetti.
With a bevy of talent, the Nor’easters have the makings of a team that could make a deep tournament push this season. Along with the impressive victory over Wethersfield, they also have quality wins over New Britain (5-1), Bloomfield (3-0), Middletown (3-1), Wilton (2-0), and New Britain (5-0).
Brunetti said the key to the hot start was the work the team was doing behind the scenes.
“We bring a lot of energy in our training session. This group comes and competes in training sessions and everyone has bought into that,” said Brunetti.
Even in the loss to Glastonbury, Brunetti’s squad showed the same fight they have all season.
After getting outshot in the first half, Newington was the more aggressive team over the final 40 minutes and had several chances down the stretch to tally the equalizer, just missing on several shots.
“We are going to face adversity and that will show us the team that we really are,” added Brunetti, who has been coaching the program since 2011. “This was a tough stretch of games and we’ll continue to play hard.”
With experience and maturity on his side, Brunetti believes his team has the mental makeup to shake off the loss to Glastonbury and finished the season strong.
There is also a possibility that Newington and Glastonbury could meet again in the postseason. Both play in the ultra-competitive class LL, which features also features Trumbull, Hall, South Windsor, and Shelton—all of whom are undefeated enter the week.
Newington is entering an important three-game home stand, starting with Bristol Eastern on Friday, Oct. 14 under the lights at Alumni Field, starting at 6 p.m.
Stair said that remaining positive during difficult situations, adding “When a mistake happens, we just have to move on.”
“We just have to keep practicing and playing hard,” added Alderucci. “We have a lot to do and a lot to prove. States is what we are going for now.”
Newington’s senior defender Bryce Cordeiro looks to pass as Glastonbury’s Nathan Infante pursues during the Nor’easters 1-0 loss to the Guardians on Oct. 6.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin