BRANFORD — It was a different type of week for the Branford boys’ soccer team.
The Hornets began the week in the final two days of quarantine after one of their players tested positive for COVID-19, but then Branford finally got back on the field Tuesday for practice before beating Career/Hillhouse, 6-0, on Thursday.
And the Hornets culminated the week with a dominating performance Saturday afternoon, blanking East Haven 5-0 at the James MacVeigh Alumni Athletic Complex.
“It was difficult,” Branford’s Dimitrios Gionteris said. “We really couldn’t go outside during the quarantine. And it was hard getting back into it with just two days of practice until our first game.”
Yet, Branford has outscored its first two opponents 11-0.
“It was probably about C+ performance at best today,” Branford coach Paul Hunter said afterwards. “It was a little sloppy. We were trying to get too many long balls instead of possession which is what we like to do.”
But you can attribute a lot of that to not being on the field together for long after quarantine.
“It put us behind the eight ball,” Hunter added. “Other teams were finalizing their preseasons and scrimmaging, which we couldn’t do. There were things we wanted to work on we never got a chance to do. Fitness-wise, we’re at about 50 percent, but we’ll catch up.”
Branford pretty much put the game away in the first 5:03 of the contest. A header into the top of the net by Gionteris off a corner kick just 3:25 in made it 1-0. Less than two minutes later, a perfect pass by Mykael Zuniga-Cordova to Raffaele Ciarleglio was converted into a goal as Ciarlegio beat Yellowjackets’ goalkeeper Asa Myers to the bottom right of the net.
It remained 2-0 until the Hornets converted another corner kick just 6:05 into the second half.
Mitchell Verdesoto sent the corner past the goal when Matt Cordero waited to head the ball into the net.
Branford added goals in the middle of the second half by Din Durmic with a blast from 20 yards out and Gionteris’ second of the day from 10 yards out.
“In the first half, we didn’t really pass as much, Gionteris said. “In the second half, we passed more and kept our momentum.”
Despite not being able to get a single shot on goal against Branford goalkeeper Alec Aceves-Acosta in the game, East Haven coach Mike Papantonio felt the Yellowjackets played better as the game went on.
“We had a little bit of possession, but the final touch in the offensive third (of the field) was just lacking. We’re making progress, but we’re less concerned with the result than getting better as the season goes along. The different in our effort from the first five minutes to the last 75 minutes is what we’ll be talking about on the bus ride home.”
Branford outshot East Haven 25-0. Myers had 16 saves for the Yellowjackets, while Tyrone Solorzano got action in the final 10 minutes and stopped four shots.
BRANFORD 5, EAST HAVEN 0
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