Torrington stays hot with win over Holy Cross
TORRINGTON - The Torrington High boys soccer team has some lofty goals this season and it took another methodical step toward reaching them Wednesday night.
The Red Raiders two an early lead and made it stand up en route to a 3-1 victory over Holy Cross in a Naugatuck Valley League matchup in Torrington.
Amar Suljic, Shane Walker and Shane Bierfeldt each scored a goal for Torrington (11-1), which extended it's winning streak to six games.
"We came right at them from the start," Suljic said. "We want to come at teams with high tempo, high pace and it paid off tonight."
Suljic and Walker tallied in the first half to give the Red Raiders a 2-0 lead. It's always nice to get an early goal but it was especially important for Torrington, which played without John McCarthy due to an ankle injury.
"We have been high-powered on offense all season, getting more people forward than other teams can get back," Suljic said. "Coach stresses possession and we have been sharing the ball well."
The Red Raiders went up 1-0 on a goal by Suljic just under eight minutes into the game. Walker doubled the advantage with 14:43 left before the half.
Torrington was controlling the run of play in the second half but a mistake in the midfield and a failed clear led to a Holy Cross goal as Taj Fullerton found the back of the net to pull the Crusaders within 2-1 with 26:08 to play.
The Red Raiders responded well and essentially put the game out if reach about 10 minutes later. Nick Mancini took a thrown in deep in the Holy Cross third and lofted the ball into the box where Shane Bierfeldt got a foot on it and put it home to push the lead back to 3-1. Holy Cross (8-4) was unable to mount a serious threat after that.
Torrington has been playing some of its best soccer of the season over the past two weeks, following a disappointing 3-2 loss to NVL rival Naugatuck. The Red Raiders had out scored their opponents 23-0 in the first five games of their current winning streak and Fullerton's goal snapped a scoreless streak that had stretched to 454 minutes.
Torrington has allowed just six goals all season, three coming in the loss of to Naugatuck.
"That loss hurt but we have learned from the mistakes we made in that game and been playing really well ever since," Suljic said. "We have a lot of big games coming down the road and I think that loss will be a springboard for us, something we can learn from."
At 11-1 Torrington has a lot to play for both in the NVL and beyond. The school record for wins is in sight an the Red Raiders are currently tied for fifth in Class L and they know every win they get means a better seed come tournament time.
If things keep going the way they have been, the goals and wins will keep coming because the Red Raiders continue to play well as a team.
"We had a good team last season but I think we are even better this season," Torrington coach Mike Fritch said. "The guys know there roles better, no one is standing around waiting for something to happen. It's a great group and they play well together as a team."
Torrington plays three of its final four regular season games on the road. The Red Raiders are at Wilby on Friday and host Crosby on Tuesday. Torrington finishes the regular season the following week with games at Holy Cross and Kennedy, which it beat 8-1 in I the season opener on Sept. 10.
For Torrington the goal will be to win them all and set themselves up for the postseason.
"They are determined and our goals are all right there in front of us," Fritch said. "We have to keep playing well and make sure we don't give any games away, every game counts. They want to avenge the way things ended last season. We had some success to build off of but a lot of theses guys have a bitter taste from the way things ended."