Raiders boys soccer win fourth in a row after 5-3 win over WCA. NVL's on Saturday.
TORRINGTON: Torrington boys soccer coach Mike Fritch Jr had been saying all year that he was looking to forward to how his team was playing come November when the second season begins.
Well, that season is upon us and the Raiders are playing very well, having won their last four in a row, including their regular season finale, a 5-3 win over Waterbury Career Academy on a misty fall night at the Robert H Frost Complex.
Braydon Nietch posted a hat trick as the Raiders celebrated on a Senior Night that saw them honor a dozen final year players to improve to 9-6-1 as the Naugatuck Valley League Tournament looms on Saturday at Municipal Stadium.
Fritch thought his opponent might be Holy Cross who are locked into the third seed with the Raiders seemingly in the number six spot but we’ll have to see how things shake out by the end of play tonight.
The Raiders season began fast at 3-0, slumped some during a two week stretch of October when they posted a 1-5-1 mark before rebounding from a 5-6-1 mark on October 18 with the strong finish.
Torrington flexed their collective muscles with three shutouts (Derby 7-0, Kennedy 3-0 and Oxford 3-0) before their win Wednesday night.
This game was playing out the way the home team wanted early as they dominated play on the Spartans side of the field but they were unable to break through over the first 33 minutes of the half when a golden opportunity came via a penalty kick.
A hand ball was called near the WCA goal, resulting in the chance to get on the board first but Spartan goalie Dan Petro guessed right by diving to his right to turn away Xavier Rodas and keep it a scoreless contest.
It wouldn’t stay scoreless for much longer, thanks to a left footed bullet of a shot by Nietch, who has had himself some kind of campaign in 2019.
That goal came with 3:28 left in the half but would not be the last, by either team.
97-seconds later, Spartan Jonathan Edwards would score his first of three times he would find the back of the net, his first one on a headed ball that found the back of the net.
Not to be outdone, senior Ben Sisic put a beautiful cross across the box and Nietch didn’t miss for a 2-1 lea at the break.
The home team kept up the offensive pressure as the second half got underway with Nietch just missing three minutes in while senior John McLaughlin banged a blast off the top cross bar.
Goal number three, the breather, would come off a scrum off a corner that saw an alert Nathan Bolesh head in the loose ball that bounced inside the box for a 3-1 lead.
65-seconds later, Torrington would score on a perfectly executed corner kick by Xavier Rodas that found Siscic who made it count.
When a corner kick works, it’s a thing of beauty.
“We always run a certain set piece,” Siscic said,” Where we start at the top of the box and one person crashes back post and another on the front post. I went front post and the pass landed perfectly on my head and I got it in.”
Up 4- 1 with 25:50 left in the game, the big lead got the best of the Raiders as they gave up two goals to Edwards over the next 11-minutes to make it a one goal game at 4-3.
“We kind of let our guard down some then,” Fritch said. “We relaxed too much.”
With just over six minutes left, Nietch restored the cushion with his third goal and the Raiders find themselves doing just what their head coach had wanted them to do.
“We are playing our best soccer at just the right time,” Fritch said. “We’re in a good position going into the NVL Tournament.”
Torrington 5, WCA 3
WCA 1 2 3
Torrington 2 3 5
Goals: (T) Braydon Nietch 3, Ben Sisic, Nathan Bolesh
(WCA) Jonathan Edwards 3
Records: WCA 9-5-2, Torrington 9-6-1