Raiders boys soccer campaign comes to an end in 4-1 loss to Wethersfield but future looks bright.
TORRINGTON: They are young and by the way, they’ll be back.
No 7 Torrington may have dropped a 4-1 decision to No 10 Wethersfield on Thursday night at the Robert H. Frost Complex in a Class L second round game to end their season but the sting of losing is tempered by an upbeat future outlook for the Raiders.
The Raiders are back, a year after missing the States completely and don’t expect them to fade into obscurity any time soon.
“Honestly, there are only five seniors that start for us,” head coach Mike Fritch Jr. said. “We’re young and I’ve got a good freshman class that will hopefully be ready to play as sophomores. They (Wethersfield) were just better tonight. They capitalized on the mistakes we made.”
After giving up the game’s first goal on a ball destined to be a cross by Eagle forward Christian Venditti that curled around and found the upper right hand corner of the net, the Raiders knotted things less than three minutes later on a goal by sophomore Jimmy Friscia.
Friscia is one of those standouts coming back in a year and Fritch and company are thankful he is.
His goal, an absolute bullet from about 35-yards out, followed a near miss by junior Naseem Thompson a minute earlier.
The combination of Friscia and Thompson on the front line of the Torrington offense is going to be something to watch in 2017, both are beyond talented and neither has reached their full potential.
The Eagles scored a pair of goals in just over a three minute span after the Friscia goal to break a 1-1 tie and never looked back, taking advantage of a bit of confusion around the Raiders that wasn’t helped by a pair of injuries to key players at the time.
“We were missing Ryan (Nadar) and Brett (Stater),” Brandon Stater said. “Brett’s out with a concussion and Ryan got hit in the head so we were a little disorganized back there at that time. It took us a few minutes and they capitalized, I have to give it to them.”
Ten minutes into the match, Nadar collided with Tyler Gomez from Wethersfield on head ball that left both players stunned.
The Raider senior would make it back into the game with just over six minutes left in the first half after being checked out by the trainer.
So, it ends sooner than the home team would have liked, but it was certainly a memorable campaign.
“Sure, we all dreamed of something a little nicer,” Stater said. “But at the end of the day, I’m happy with how far we came and what my teammates have done. They stuck with it and worked hard all year. Tough loss tonight, Wethersfield is a great team with great players but we left our heart on the field. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Stater is one of the biggest things the Raiders are going to miss next year, his calming presence on the defensive side of the ball, teamed with Scott Dixon has been one of the most effective back line duos in the Naugatuck Valley League.
Also graduated is goalie Luke Wassik who played very well in goal in his first full year after fighting for the job during the preseason and coming out as the keeper.
The cupboard is certainly not bare and with the future looking bright, the head coach can’t help but be pleased.
“Without a doubt I am proud,” Fritch said. “Considering we missed the states a year ago, this was a terrific year.”