WATERBURY >> The Torrington Red Raiders hobbled into the NVL tournament on Saturday and upset the No. 4 team Holy Cross before giving No. 1 Watertown (14-3) a run in the semifinals losing 2-1 on Monday night.
“We gave it all they could handle,” said Torrington head coach Mario Longobucco. “We knew there wouldn’t be a lot of goals scored we were hoping for a 1-0, 2-1 game.”
The Red Raiders started the season 7-2-1, they then lost starting goalie Taylor Howe, defender Kendra Covington and finished the season going 1-5 in its last six games. Then during the upset win over Holy Cross they lost Emily Manchester and before the tournament they lost Olivia Morrison, but she returned at less than 100% and played out of position at the start of the tournament.
“I am very proud of them, I couldn’t have asked them for more,” said Longobucco.
Starting in place of the injured Howe, junior Kasey Roscello played well in net making 11 saves in the loss.
“She did amazing, I couldn’t imagine the pressure she was under,” said Morrison a senior. “She did everything she possibly could.”
“I am so proud of the team, we worked our butts off,” said Roscello a junior.
The game was scoreless for most of the first half until, the Indians’ Alexis Fenn scored on a rebound off the post, with two minutes left in the half.
Torrington got the goal back 10 minutes into the second half, when Alexis Tyrrell was able to beat Watertown’s goalie Ariana Hoxha one-on-one to tie the score back at 1-1.
“We were ball watching, they caught us being sloppy,” said Watertown head coach Lisa Mariano. “We knew it was just a matter of time before we would finish.”
Mariano was right and with eight minutes left Watertown scored, what turned out to be the game-winner, when Fitore Kllobocishta was able to bury home a rebound goal.
The Red Raiders with its back against the wall maintained offensive pressure right until the final second and with 25 seconds left in the game they set up for a corner kick for the tie. Morrison rushed to the corner and lined up for kick.
“I was hoping with Alexis (Tyrrell) in there she would kick it in,” said Morrison.
“I was just telling them to mark and get the ball out,” said Mariano of the final corner kick.
Morrison kicked the ball right into the box and the ball bounced around until Tyrrell got a last second kick from a bad angle and kicked it wide, ending the game.
“I thought we might have had a chance, we gave it as much as we could,” said Roscello.
For a team that no one thought would make it to the semifinals the Red Raiders wanted to prove people wrong and leave it all on the field.
“I think we just wanted to show everyone that thought we weren’t going to go anywhere,” said Morrison.
No. 1 Watertown will take on No. 2 Naugatuck at Municipal Stadium on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. for the chance to be NVL Champions.
“When know Naugatuck is a great program,” said Mariano. “We are just going to play soccer and play how we know we can play.”
No. 1 Watertown 2 No. 5 Torrington
At Municipal Stadium
Watertown 1 1 – 2
Torrington 0 1 – 1
Goals: W – Alexis Fenn; Fitore Kllobocishta. T – Alexis Tyrrell.
Assists: T – Olivia Morrison.
Records: Watertown 14-3, Torrington 8-7-1
Reach Pete Paguaga in the office at 860-489-3121 ext.326