TORRINGTON — Torrington boys soccer’s Xavier Rodas smacked a shot off Watertown’s goalpost early in each half of a closely-contested game Friday night.
In the shadow of those Red Raider might-have-beens, the undefeated (7-0-1) Indians stepped up their second-half game for a 2-0 win at Torrington’s Robert H. Frost Sports Complex.
“They completed their chances; we hit two posts,” said Torrington coach Mike Fritch. “It was a matter of two inches.”
Torrington (4-4; 4-3 NVL) took it to the Indians on offense and defense in the first half. Rodas’ 20-yard shot off the right post seven minutes in highlighted the Raider offensive pressure. Quick Torrington feet all over the field, with Ben Sisic anchoring the middle, gave Torrington multiple chances, mostly mid-range.
The Indians, too, had chances in Torrington’s 7-5 shot advantage, but, with three referees on hand at Fritch’s request, Raider defenders negated Indian speed up front with defensive step-ups, catching Watertown off-sides in the early going.
“We had a tough game against Holy Cross (a 0-0 tie Thursday night) and we started slow,” said Indian striker Jake Champagne.
“We were losing the midfield battle in the first half,” said Watertown coach Vito Caliguiri.
At the half, Caliguiri moved several backs into attack mode on the wings to relieve midfield pressure. Watertown’s feet came alive.
Nevertheless, Rodas had his second great shot at the lead two minutes into the half, with a rope to Watertown’s left post.
From there, the game evened out. Torrington’s defensive traps no longer worked.
“We needed to play possession to give me more time,” said the speedy Champagne.
Six minutes into the second half, Champagne sent a rocket from the right wing to attacking midfielder Troy Tedesco at Torrington’s far post for the first goal.
Torrington’s Neyger Atariguana had a great chance off an equally-great cross from Brendan Cisowski in the 12th minute, but Atariguana’s hard shot bounced off Watertown keeper Hayden Beauty (10 saves).
A minute later, Champagne took a pass from Moni Jusufi just past midfield, working his way past a lone Raider defender for Watertown’s second goal and the game.
“It was two plays we should have defended and didn’t,” said Coach Fritch.
Still, both coaches went away happy — Coach Caliguiri with the win, Fritch with the speed and fluidity of Torrington’s game with the promise of better things to come.
“We’re young,” he said.
Watertown 2, Torrington 0
At Torrington High School
Watertown 0 2 — 2
Torrington 0 0 — 0
Goals: W — Troy Tedesco; Jake Champagne. Assists: W — Champagne; Moni Jusufi. Shots: 13-11 Watertown. Saves: W — Hayden Beauty 10. T — Kevin Hidrovo 11.
Records: Watertown 7-0-1; Torrington 4-4 (4-3 NVL).