Raiders/Greyhounds for the NVL boys soccer crown....A preview.
Shane Bierfeldt and the Torrington soccer team go for the Naugatuck Valley League Tournament title on Wednesday when they take on Naugatuck at 5 p.m. at Municipal Stadium in Waterbury. Picture by Marianne Killackey.
TORRINGTON: It’s the matchup everybody wanted to see and now we will get it.
The Torrington and Naugatuck boys’ soccer teams have been the cream of the crop all season and on Wednesday night in the Naugatuck Valley League Tournament finals, we get to see them fight for the ultimate prize.
In their only meeting of the regular season, the Greyhounds came to Torrington and left with a 3-2 win on a late goal that deflected off a Raider defender.
Since that game, Torrington and goalie Zach Paniati have given up just one goal while finishing the year with a 15-1 mark that includes a school record 11 regular season shutouts (13 total with the NVL’s so far.)
Naugatuck has rolled to their perfect 16-0 mark on the strength of an offense led by forward Adam Branco who is simply a beast to control anywhere near the net.
“If we can compose ourselves, and contain Branco, it will force somebody else to try and beat us” Raider head coach Mike Fritch Jr. said. “If we do that, we’ll have a good chance of coming away with the win.”
There will be some serious talent on the field at Municipal Stadium on Wednesday night, as witnessed by the numbers of players from both teams that were honored by the NVL for their regular seasons.
Torrington placed two on the All-NVL list (Shane Bierfeldt and John McCarthy) and two more on the All-Copper (Zach paniati and Amar Suljic) while the Greyhounds saw Branco and Ygor Silva make All-NVL with Tyler Saad and Joe Martins earning spots on the All-Copper squad.
Branco was named the Outstanding Senior by the NVL.
A year ago, the Raiders found themselves in this same spot but against Watertown and on a wind driven game during a tournament that was interrupted by Hurricane Sandy numerous times before finally being played a week after it began.
The Indians prevailed 2-1 in overtime as the Raiders fell just short.
This is a game the Raiders have been waiting to play for a very long time and look forward to the opportunity to get a second crack at their top NVL rival.
“The kids have been building toward this all year. We set a goal to get back to this game in August,” Fritch said. “Now it is just about finishing what began last year.”
A senior laden (10) Raider team looks to wrap up their NVL careers with a title they have been working torwards for the last four years.