NEW BRITAIN - The Newington girls soccer team might have been up two goals at halftime of Tuesday’s match, but head coach Adam Wilkinson wasn’t happy with his team’s performance and let his players know it.
“We had a rough game the other day [against Rocky Hill],” Wilkinson said. “We lost with 30 seconds left in overtime. We’ve been working on a couple tactical drills, a better shape, so usually in a game like today, we try to do a few things. It took us a little while to get going in the first half.”
The Indians responded with five goals in the second half and beat New Britain 7-0.
Newington’s Abby Molloy led all goal scorers with two goals. Reagon Pelton, Skylar Couillard, Mary Ancona, Madelyn Mangiafico and Sabrina Soler each netted a goal as well for the Indians on the afternoon.
“Our passing was just a lot better,” Molloy said.
It also led to a lot of shots. Newington totaled 34 shots to the Hurricanes' 11, leaving a rather easy day for Indians goalkeeper Jenna Scanlon.
“We wanted to defend, that was our mission,” New Britain head coach Robert Williams said. The Hurricanes have given up 11 goals in the second halves of their last two games.
Couillard opened the flood gates in the second half for Newington and was soon followed by Ancona, Molloy’s second goal, Mangiafico and Soler.
“The thing is once you get four goals up,” Wilkinson said, “sometimes the other team lets up a little bit and makes things a little easier, but it was good. We kind of treated it as an extra training session because we have a big game Thursday against Tolland, it’ll be a different game, they’re a big, physical team.”
For the Hurricanes, it was a particularly tough match considering they were within striking ranging coming out of the half and let things get away from them.
“Today was a tough game for me and my girls,” New Britain junior captain Maya Mlynarska said. “It’s no one's fault, it’s just we need to prepare more as a team together. Overall, from this game our point is to defend. We need to defend as much as possible even though this game proves that 7-0 is not a good score, but as long as we keep improving I’m sure the city of New Britain will have a good soccer team.”
In the first half, Maggie Callahan fed the ball to Molloy for the match’s first goal and the Indians never looked back. Reagon Pelton netted the team’s and game’s second goal off an assist from Allyson Tofeldt.
And the slow start that Wilkinson didn’t like, looked to be a result of Newington still trying to figure things out on the field. The Indians graduated the core out of its team - two center midfielders and center defenders from 2016.
“It’s just getting them [the team] up to speed,” Wilkinson said. “I’ve got an older team that is just starting to get the concepts in. They’re starting to sink in a little bit. It took a little longer than I thought but we’ve also integrated three freshmen this year.
“Physically we’re small. We have to play a little bit bigger. I’m not saying we’re going to be bigger but we have to be a little bit tougher and a little stronger.”
There is also a lot to improve on for New Britain.
“Its fitness,” Williams said. “We have 14 girls, and only five have played varsity before. We have one premier player, they have 20. It’s hard to compete against that. I put them on the field and we set up to defend. We have to work on our team movement, we have to work on goalkeeper positioning, we have to work on talking, we have to work on everything.”
Shelby Iava can be reached at (860)801-5096 or firstname.lastname@example.org