REDDING — A winning boys soccer team at Joel Barlow High School is as much an autumn tradition as the leaves changing, and although the season isn’t even halfway over, the Falcons had good reason to celebrate on Saturday.
Ben Goodacre scored two goals and Jack Warren scored one to lift Barlow to a 3-1, non-conference victory over Naugatuck, giving Falcons coach Paul Winstanley his 200th career victory in his 15th season at the helm.
“It just shows you that he knows what he’s doing,” Warren said. “He’s done this time after time, year after year. He knows how to play the game, and he knows how to coach it, it’s as simple as that.”
Barlow has only had two head boys soccer coaches in its history. Jim Dolan was the first, posting a record of 411-89-39 in 29 years and winning six state titles and 13 conference crowns dating back to the old Western Connecticut Conference days. Winstanley served as an assistant on Dolan’s staff for six seasons before taking over in 2004. It was the first head coaching position for Winstanley, a New Canaan native, and he has guided the Falcons to six SWC championships, including last year’s, and the 2007 Class L state title.
“Jim Dolan built this monster, and what I’m most proud of is that I didn’t kill it during my tenure,” Winstanley said with a grin. “I don’t think there’s a program like it in the state. Certainly, the tradition of championships that he set forth, and the style of discipline and defensive fortitude that we play with on the field, he did all of that. I just feel blessed that I’ve been able to take over a program like this.”
After the game, the players, parents and booster club presented Winstanley with a gift and shared a cake — with black and yellow frosting, of course — in his honor.
Naugatuck (4-2-1) had a bit of an edge in play at times during the first half, but Barlow came on strong in the second half.
The score was tied 1-1 at halftime, with Goodacre putting the Falcons on the board first in the 17th minute off an assist from Pablo Correa-Ramirez, and Naugatuck’s Kareem Morris tying it off a feed from Qasim Zia in the 34th minute.
Barlow (5-1-1) took the lead for good when Warren converted off a feed from Goodacre. Goodacre then added an insurance goal less than six minutes later after a shot by Warren from close range was blocked.
“Mistakes will cost you against better teams, especially those of Joel Barlow’s quality,” said Naugatuck coach Ryan Kinne, whose Greyhounds were Class LL state finalists last year. “It’s a good crew. We’re still gelling, still getting some chemistry. After going to a state final last year, we lost a bunch of guys who are playing at high levels in college. We’re just looking for guys to step up into those spots.”
Goalkeepers John Hoeing and Robert Syku split the game for Barlow, with Hoeing making two saves in the first half and Syku making three saves in the second half. Brandon Sampaio made four saves for Naugatuck.
The Falcons have plenty of reasons to feel confident as the calendar flips to October. They’ve only allowed four goals this season, and that includes a 1-0, season-opening victory over Masuk in a rematch of last year’s SWC final, and a 2-2 tie with perennial contender Brookfield, which is still unbeaten. Barlow’s only loss was a 1-0 setback against undefeated Weston.
“We’re extremely talented, but we haven’t even begun, in my mind, to scratch the surface of what we’re capable of,” Winstanley said.
And that wasn’t just the cake talking.
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Joel Barlow 3, Naugatuck 1
|Joel Barlow (5-1-1)||1||2||—||3|
Goals: Joel Barlow: Ben Goodacre (from Pablo Correa Ramirez), 17:00. Naugatuck: Kareem Morris (from Qasim Zia), 34:00. Joel Barlow: Jack Warren (from Ben Goodacre), 47:00. Joel Barlow: Ben Goodacre (from Jack Warren), 53:00. Shots: Naugatuck 10, Joel Barlow 9. Saves: Naugatuck: Brandon Sampaio 4; Joel Barlow: John Hoeing 2, Robert Syku 3.