BETHEL — These kids can play, too.
The Weston boys soccer team experienced a high amount of turnover from its first ever SWC title last fall, but you wouldn’t have known that with a new crop of seniors ready to take the mantle as the team to beat in the conference.
Mason Asphar converted a pass from Jacob Strouch midway through the second half to hand Weston a 1-0 win over Bethel at Rourke Field Tuesday.
The Trojans have started out 2-0-1- this season and displayed quality against the Wildcats, particularly in possession across the field. Last year’s team set the tone for this group of upperclassmen, who are finally getting their chance to shine.
— Ryan Lacey (@RyanLacey11) September 24, 2019
“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time now,” said Ashpar, one of seven Trojans seniors. “We used to go to the games in fourth grade and say that’s going to be us one day. Last year having all the starting 11 gone sounded scary, but we’d scrimmage against them every single day and beat them two out of three times.”
Strouch’s ball beat four defenders and Ashpar made no mistake converting the one-on-one chance.
“We play the same position and usually only have one striker up top, so the fact we were on the field at the same was pretty special,” Ashpar said. “He’s a big man and always trying to win the headers. … I’m usually not the guy to celebrate but I just went wings out and everything, I was so happy.”
Bethel keeper Nate Correard made a series of excellent saves right before the halftime whistle to keep it scoreless, but the Trojans raised their game after the break and finally cashed in with 20 minutes to play.
“I feel like there was a little bit of distrust in the preseason and everyone was trying to carry the team on their own,” said Trojans coach Kevin Fitzsimmons. “We sat them down and talked about being a possession team and to do that you have to pass it. Today we started seeing the signs of what we could do.”
Bethel had a chance cleared off the line right before the game’s lone goal off a long throw in. The Wildcats had a string of corners after falling behind, too, but the Weston defense cleared each time. A shot in the final seconds crawled into the arms of goalie Devin Riley.
“We told the kids to keep believing and keep fighting, and they did that,” said Bethel coach Tony Fernandes. “We created a few chances but didn’t take them. … We played hard, Weston is a good team and they didn’t miss a beat from last year’s team.”
It was the first loss of the season for the hosts (3-1-1) who had scored at least twice in each game this season before Tuesday. Though early in the season, each point will be critical towards making the postseason.
“The games I thought we should be winning we were,” Fernandes said. “This game was more of a tossup; they’re a good team but we were at home so I thought we had a shot, and we did. We were in the game until the very end.”