Raider girls soccer shows promise in opener.
TORRINGTON: It seemed to take forever but they did it.
The Torrington girls’ soccer team played a match on Wednesday night at the Robert H Frost Complex on the grounds of Torrington High School.
Their 2020 campaign, delayed by Covid-19 once again this past Monday when their game against Sacred Heart was postponed because of a positive case, got underway against the Watertown Indians.
While the Raiders fell by a 3-0 score, there was much to like about what folks (only parents) saw during the match that was a 2-0 game at the break and stayed that way until the visitors scored with three to play in the second half.
Any discussion of how well this team plays starts with their all-world goalie, senior Abby McCarthy who was simply spectacular out of the gate, stoning try after try by an aggressive Watertown team who, despite losing 10 seniors from a year ago, will still be one of the top teams in the Naugatuck Valley League this season.
On one opportunity by the Indians early in the first half, McCarthy came out to block a shot to her left which rebounded back towards the middle of the box, giving the visitors another point blank range shot which was blocked once again by a sparkling stop by the senior keeper.
The Indians scored their two first half goals off on corner kicks, the first at the 26:47 mark off a rebound, similar to their next at the 7:31 mark. Watertown uses a charge from just inside the box as the corner comes in and on each of the goals, the second player in cleaned up off the initial stop.
Aside from those moments though, the play was relatively even on both ends as the home team started to find their collective footing while counting on McCarthy and her standout sweeper, Payton Graham to keep things in order on the defensive end.
Torrington forced many a Watertown offside call in the first 40-minutes with Graham deftly understanding how to move up quickly, forcing the whistle.
Watching Graham maneuver around the field is to watch a player who understands the next five moves coming from an opponent, similar to a skilled chess player.
Her perfectly timed sliding tackle late in the first half, inside the box, was an example of a moved played just right.
On the offensive side of the action, a freshman forward, Vanderee Fritch (daughter of boy’s head coach Mike Fritch Jr) started and played well, just missing connecting on a shot mid-way through the first half.
Junior Leah Darby, sophomores Rachel Brewer-Karimi and Brianna Murelli all played with an aggression that had to make head coach Mario Longobucco happy.
Two other freshman, Haley Burger and Sofia D’Addona made their mark in their first varsity action with Burger saving a goal with a stop on a shot right in front of the goal in the first half.
Overall, their head coach was pleased but knows who this team will be relying on in 2020.
“I think it was a good effort,” Longobucco said. “Especially in the second half. We tend to allow goals with less than five left in the half and in the game and that trend continued. We had a good showing from our three freshman starters so that was good. But it was really too much on Graham and McCarthy who played both played a tremendous game.”
Torrington takes on defending state champion Holy Cross on Friday.