MIDDLETOWN >> Vinal Tech boys soccer coach Eric Sawyer has been with the Hawks for just two weeks. And Sawyer, the former volleyball coach at Abbott Tech, knows that if the Hawks are going to be competitive the rest of the season, they’ll need to shore up its defense.
Vinal Tech dropped a 6-0 decision against University/Prince Tech on Tuesday afternoon at the Thomas Serra Sports Complex.
“I want to focus on keeping the ball out of the middle and reducing the number of goals scored against us,” Sawyer said. “If the defense is playing the way it should then the goals scored against us should be reduced.”
University/Prince Tech, the two-time defending Constitution State Conference champions, got goals from five different players — Mike Haughton, Connor Huydic, Tyler Sartor, Andrew Dorsey, and Otasowie Ojo — and built a 5-0 halftime advantage.
University’s first half goalkeeper, Dom Hollister, moved to forward and netted the only goal of the second half.
“You try not to embarrass anybody or get anybody hurt, that’s the important part,” University coach John Lowney said. “We go into pink and crosses and cutters and we-can’t- score, all that kind of stuff.”
University, which improved to 7-0, is coming off consecutive undefeated seasons — they are 35-0-1 in their last 36 regular season games. A year ago they were the number one seed in the Class L tournament but were knocked out by eventual co-champion Branford.
This year Lowney has scheduled a pair of tough non-league games. University already defeated Immaculate-Danbury, 3-1, on Sept. 18 and will play Sheehan of Wallingford on Oct. 24.
“We’ve set some goals and we’ve ramped up our schedule a little bit,” Lowney said. “It’s the bounce of the ball, a little bit of luck here, a little bit of luck there. But we’re right there again. We don’t want to get knocked out by the champion of the tournament anymore.”
For Vinal Tech, it’s a matter of survival.
The Hawks (a co-ed team as the school doesn’t field a girls soccer team) suited up just 12 players: seniors Jason O’Leary, Robert Parker, and Brianna Poissant; juniors Sky Biney, Jason Garzone, Marco Gurciullo, Connor Mcduell and Denzel Woolard; sophomores Colin Gassman and Tyshaun Knight; and freshmen Teddy Charlton and Ethan Vargas.
Parker, a lacrosse player who is in his first-year as a varsity goalkeeper, made a number of spectacular saves in the first half.
“He’s athletic and he’s got a good head on his shoulders,” Sawyer added.
Vinal Tech, which fell to 1-5, generated only two shots on goal.
“The goals will come, I’m not worried about that,” Sawyer said. “I want to work on keeping the ball out of the middle, which is where their best players are. So let’s drive it up the side. That’s what we’re working on tomorrow at practice.”