TORRINGTON >> Torrington boys soccer (5-2) took a hard-fought 1-0 win over Sacred Heart (1-5-1) Thursday evening and felt good about doing it.
Naseem Thompson kicked in a deflection off a defender on Brett Stater’s corner kick 21 minutes into the game.
The Red Raiders found the door closed for most of the rest of the game while the Hearts, much better than their record, used their size and aggressiveness to try for the evener.
“We have key guys back from injury,” said Sacred Heart Coach Gianni Perugini. “We knew this was their third game this week, so we wanted to play with our width, using both sides of the field to try to wear them down.”
On Torrington’s side, the loss of key defender Alex Segovia to a hip flexor (day-to-day) in the Raiders’ 3-1 loss at Ansonia Tuesday was more harmful than the schedule.
“We had to move some people around today and they did very well under the circumstances,” said Coach Mike Fritch.
Moving Raiders back left much of the offensive burden on Thompson’s shoulders and the Hearts have one of the few NVL defenders who can match up with the speedy forward.
“Legend Johnson is the only kid in the league who can keep up with him,” said Fritch.
Nevertheless, “We came out strong and we had some great touches,” said Thompson, a junior who’s added size and aggressiveness of his own to the speed he showed a year ago.
“We’re learning to be big and aggressive,” said Fritch. “We’ve talked about intensity and moving through the ball.”
The Raiders controlled the ball for much of the first half, but couldn’t find the net until Thompson punched in the deflection in the 21st minute.
“Torrington made the best of our little defensive breakdown,” said Perugini. “That’s what good teams do.”
Sacred Heart’s whole-field plan worked best in the second half, earning the Hearts at least a split in possession time.
Still, Torrington had two great chances to end the suspense early.
Stater sent a header into the side of the Hearts’ net off a restart in the second half’s 26th minute. Four minutes later, Thompson broke loose on a charge with a shot just wide of the post.
“A win’s a win,” smiled Coach Fritch.
“We’re getting there with a young team,” said Coach Perugini, in his fourth year, with a team that’s been in every game they’ve played so far.
Torrington hosts 3-2-1 Seymour Monday.
Sacred Heart goes to 4-1-1 Watertown.
Torrington 1, Sacred Heart 0
At Torrington High School
Sacred Heart 0 0 – 0
Torrington 1 0 – 1
Goal: T – Naseem Thompson. Shots: 5-2 Torrington. Saves: SH – Noah Francisco 2. T – Luke Wassik 2.
Records: Sacred Heart 1-5-1; Torrington 5-2.