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Raiders miss early chances, fall to Woodstock Academy in Class L opener.. Story by John Nestor.

POSTED November 11, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

Alyssa Otis of the Torrington girls soccer team, battles during first half action of the Class L opening round game against Woodstock Academy. The Raiders season came to an end with a 1-0 loss to the Centaurs.

No. 20 Woodstock Academy 1, No. 13 Torrington 0
By John Nestor
TORRINGTON - The Torrington High School girls soccer team had its chances Thursday night and couldn't put them away. Now they have the whole offseason to think about it.
The missed opportunities proved costly for 13th-seeded Torrington as it dropped a 1-0 decision to No. Woodstock Academy in a state Class L tournament first-round matchup.
Torrington ends its season at 11-8 while Woodstock Academy of the Eastern Connecticut Conference advance for a second-round meeting with No. 4 Joel Barlow of the SouthWest Conference on Saturday.
"We had chances early on and we didn't convert and it came back to bite us," Torrington coach Mario Longbucco said.
The Centaurs (8-6-3) didn't get many chances to take advantage of, certainly not as many as the Raiders, but they found a way to break through in the closing minutes of a closely contested match.
Mackenzie Davignon pushed up the left sideline and flicked a pass forward to teammate Emily Becher, who made a move toward the Torrington goal. Raider goalie Taylor Howe came out to cut down the angle but couldn't get to the ball and Becher sent it toward the goal. Raiders defender Toni Wilson closed in to clear the ball but it was too late and her clearing attempt as the ball crossed the goal line pushed the ball into the back of the net.
The play gave Woodstock Academy a 1-0 lead with 6:08 to play.
"Taylor made the right play coming out, she just couldn't quite get there," Longbucco said. "The ball got through and Toni tried to clear but it was going in. It wasn't an own goal at all."
But it was the winning goal. Torrington pushed everyone forward in an attempt to come up with the equalizer but it was not to be. A few forays into the box were cleared away by the Centaurs, who had packed everyone in to withstand the onslaught by the Raiders.
"We knew that they were going to be a good team," Woodstock coach Amy Cross said. "We worked on our one v. one defense and knew what to expect. I'm proud of the girls. We had a rough season and for a while it looked like we wouldn't even make the tournament. To come out here and win this game is a great accomplishment for them."
What the Centaurs and Cross were expecting was for Torrington to look to standout senior Ally Otis to generate scoring chances. Otis was dangerous on some plays, but almost always had to deal with multiple Woodstock Academt defenders. Still she nearly tucked shots inside the far post in both halves when the game was scoreless but just missed wide each time.
"We had a lot of opportunities and we just didn’t capitalize on them,” Otis said. "It was everyone, we can't point fingers tonight, we all went down together."
It was a tough way to end the season for Otis as well as fellow seniors Mariah Cerruto, Sarah Parrotta and Morgan Thulin, who missed the season with an injury. Despite the loss though, the Raiders have much to be proud of.
A 5-0 loss to Brookfield on Sept. 30 left Torrington 2-4 and mired in a four-game losing skid. It was a point where a young team could have packed it in, but Otis and the rest of the seniors wouldn't let it happen.
Instead Torrington went on a roll and entered the tournament 9-3 in its last 12 games.
"We had always had winning seasons since I came to high school but I think early on some of the younger players didn't want it enough and didn't know how tow win," Otis said. "We had a lot of freshmen and I am really proud of the whole team and everyone has come such a long way."
And Otis sees this team going a long way in the coming years.
"These girls are so lucky being freshman and playing so much varisty soccer and getting experienced," Otis said. "They were thrown into the mix right away and next season they will all know what to expect and what it takes to be successful. We started off slow but once we started winning games the younger players started to see what it took and how badly the seniors wanted it and they wanted it too. When you are winning games, that feeling is irreplacable."
Unfortunately for Otis and the Raiders, it was a feeling missing Thursday night.


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