Donato Piselli took over a Law boys’ soccer program two years ago that was in the midst of a long winless streak.
But that streak would end that very season. The Lawmen won at West Haven in October of 2012 to give the program its first victory since the 2008 season.
Two years later, Law has turned things around. With Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over East Haven, Law qualified for postseason pay for the first time since 2001.
“I didn’t realize it had been that long,” Piselli said. “A lot of these kids were only two or three years old. … It’s great how much it meant to the boys who are seniors now. It was great satisfaction for them to finally break through. The looks on their faces said it all.”
Piselli noted the play – and the perseverance – of seniors Craig Calderone, Herbie Pritchard, Michael Chodziutko, Jon Costa and Amar Almidani, along with junior Antonio Gjuraj. All have been important parts to Law’s resurgence.
And to think it didn’t come down to the final game for the Lawmen (6-5-2). They still have three games this week to close out the regular season.
“It not only involved coaching, it involved transforming the belief, attitude and mentality of the players,” Piselli said. “It’s more than Xs and Os. We tried to change their mindset as far as what they could accomplish. They clearly have changed from when I took over a couple of years ago. They expected the worst to happen a couple of years ago. Now, they expect the best.”
And the best result so far wasn’t even one of the six wins. Law ties Hand 2-2 at home on Sept. 19. That was the first time Law either beat or tied Hand since 2006.
“(Hand coach Stan Latkowski) was really positive after the game and congratulatory. I think he knew what that result meant to us,” Piselli said.
Piselli said he has never looked at the draw in the Class M state tournament – and doesn’t plan to do so until this week. He admitted until last week, he thought the Lawmen were in Class L. Was there ever a reason beforehand for Piselli to look?
Barring a longshot for making the SCC tournament as a wildcard entry, the Lawmen will have at least nine days off between the end of the regular season and the start of tournament play.
It will be a chance to pick up a scrimmage or two in order to get ready for a entirely different environment.
“We will look to see if we can survive. I don’t think anyone want to turn in their uniforms yet,” Piselli said.