BRISTOL - The Bristol Eastern and Southington boys soccer teams both entered their match Friday afternoon searching for their first win of the 2020 season, and for much of the second half it appeared as though they were both going to leave with their second ties.
Both sides struggled to gain an advantage for much of the tightly-contested match, each with one goal on their side of the scoreboard. A late goal from junior Dylan Piazza put the Lancers on top and gave them a 2-1 win to build off of going forward.
“I thought in the first half we had a lot of play, we were able to stifle their big forward so they weren’t able to really get going,” Eastern head coach Bill Sweet said. “The second half they pushed forward and I don’t think we responded well for a while, and I think it showed when they scored a goal. The last 10-12 minutes, they pushed, we pushed, but I thought we had a little better play. I give our backs credit, Luke [Hammer] who played the big guy, that was a good battle.”
The Blue Knights avoided a shutout for the first time this year and had plenty of opportunities to score a second goal, but could not bring them to fruition.
“[It was] a very evenly matched game, both teams with a lot of hunger, a lot of desire,” Southington head coach Austin Magaro said. “The match was there for the taking, it was on a knife’s edge pretty much the whole game. Unfortunately, at the end, we didn’t really clear our lines and they made us pay. We have to hit the film and regroup for next week.”
The Lancers also used this game to recognize its seniors with an abridged version of traditional senior day festivities by having each player stand with their parents before the game.
“They’ve been on winners,” Sweet said. “We told them that a halftime. We said ‘you guys have been winners all along. Now, this is senior day, we’re recognizing you. You go take control. We’re 0-1-1 and we really need a win here. We gave up a late goal to get a tie and Plainville got a goal and we couldn’t answer. These guys have always been working hard, that’s what we ask.”
Piazza broke the 1-1 draw with two and a half minutes remaining in the second half with a powerful right-footed kick from the left side of the field that zoomed past Southington goalkeeper Ryan Lunn and into the far right side of the goal.
“I just looked straight at the ball, I saw that space in the goal and took my chance,” Piazza said.
The Lancers took their original lead around midway through the first half when Dominik Femiak found senior Martin Wusthoff in the box and put the ball in the back of the net for the game’s first goal.
“The ball popped out a little bit to the side and Martin followed it,” Sweet said. “He was on the other side and I give him credit on that because we’re always trying to get him to follow shots, have your feet ready, and he came in from the weak side and was right there. The goalie from Southington did his job and then he opened up his back.”
The Blue Knights responded about eight and a half minutes after halftime to score their first goal of the season when Liam Schroeder found the ball in the box and snuck one past Eastern goalkeeper Nate DiLoreto.
“They played it up, I was there and I knew it was going to come behind for some reason,” Schroeder said. “It popped up and I was just trying to aim my body towards the goal and it went in.”
Tyler Borry nearly doubled the lead for Eastern right after halftime with a shot from just outside the box, but angled it just inches too wide to the left and it hit the post. He found the crossbar later in the half as well on a shot that would have retaken the lead for the Lancers.
Wuesthoff nearly put the Lancers ahead with his second goal when Lunn misfielded Wuesthoff’s shot, but was able to recover before the ball rolled over the goal line.
Both squads are off until Tuesday as teams are only allowed to play twice per week. The Lancers will hit the road to face Lewis Mills at 3:45 while the Blue Knights will host Avon at the same time.
“We’re still 1-1-1, there’s nothing great about our record,” DiLoreto said. “These guys keep on pushing in practice and this win just boosts what we need to do and we get better every day at practice.”
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org
BRISTOL EASTERN 2, SOUTHINGTON 1
At Bristol Eastern
Goals: Martin Wuesthoff (BE), Liam Schroeder (S), Dylan Piazza (BE).
Assists: Dominik Femiak (BE), Tyler Borry (BE).
Saves: Nate DiLoreto (BE) 4, Ryan Lunn (S) 8.
Records: Bristol Eastern 1-1-1, Southington 0-2-1.