GREENWICH — Beginning its season with games against Choate Rosemary Hall, Taft School, Loomis Chaffee School, Deerfield Academy and Avon Old Farms made the Brunswick School soccer team battle-tested going forward.
The Bruins went 0-3-2 during the stretch of matchups against five powerhouse foes, but lost three one-goal games and gained plenty of momentum.
Since its challenging start to the season, Brunswick has reeled off four straight victories, the latest coming Wednesday against visiting Trinity-Pawling School. Finishing a number of its chances, while posting its third consecutive shutout, Brunswick continued to trend upward, upending Trinity-Pawling, 6-0.
Freshman striker Chisom Okpara and senior strike Harry Barringer each tallied twice for the Bruins, who entered halftime with a commanding 5-0 lead.
With the convincing win, the Bruins upped their record to 4-3-2.
“Playing those strong teams at the beginning of the season helped us get tougher physically and mentally,” said Okpara, who scored three goals in the first half. “Even though we beat them (Trinity-Pawling) last season, we came into this game with a good mindset.”
Indeed, the Bruins left nothing to chance Wednesday, as they pressured the Pride from the outset.
“That was a really good performance today,” Bruins second-year coach Danny Simpson said. “We moved the ball well and I was really impressed with our finishing. It was cool, calculated and we used great speed up front.”
FINISHING IN THE FIRST HALF
The home team struck early and often in the opening half. Okpara put the the Bruins on the scoreboard first, using his left foot to deposit a shot over the outstretched hands of Trinity junior goalie Solomon Hess into the top right corner in the sixth minute.
Okpara tallied again in the ninth minute and with 32:10 remaining in the first half Barringer converted a shot, giving Brunswick a quick 3-0 advantage. Sophomore midfielder Aaryan Chinai assisted on both of Okpara’s goals.
“We were confident going into the game, but we also came here ready, knowing we had to play our best soccer and we did,” said Barringer, a tri-captain.
An own goal off a cross (Okpara was near the action) put the Bruins in front, 4-0, at the 19:28 mark of the first half. Freshman striker Nico Montoni sealed the first-half scoring for the Bruins with 10:58 still left. Receiving a long ball from senior defender Ben Powers, Montoni beat a Trinity-Pawling defender en route to tallying, putting the visitors in a 5-0 hole.
The final goal came in the second half off the foot of Barringer. Sophomore goalie Eric Meindl made two saves for the Bruins, while Hess and junior Bailey Monteiro combined for 11 saves.
SET FOR THE SECOND HALF
Wednesday marked the midway point of the season for the Bruins, who play EF International — a squad from New York City — at home on Friday at 5 p.m. Brunwick hosts Salisbury School on Oct. 17 and South Kent on Oct. 20.
“After the tough start to the season, we have definitely bounced back,” Brunswick senior defender/tri-captain Ben Powers said. “Defensively, we have three clean sheets in a row, which is big for us.”
Added senior defender/tri-captain Ben Israel: “We had a lot of chances today and we finished them, which is awesome, because we’ve struggled to score at times this season. We moved the ball around a lot pretty well and we had goals coming from our outside wingers, which is what we’ve been working on.”
“Pace of play is something we have to continue to work on,” Barringer said. “We play our best, when we are playing one, two touch soccer. If we become consistent in doing that, we’ll be in a really good spot.”
BRUNSWICK 6, TRINITY-PAWLING 0
TRINITY-PAWLING 0 0 — 0
BRUNSWICK 5 1 — 6
Records: Brunswick 4-3-1; Trinity-Pawling 1-6-1; Goals: B — Chisom Okpara 2, Harry Barringer 2, Nico Montoni; Assists: B — Aaryan Chinai 2, P.K. Keller, Ben Powers, John Dunn; Goalies: Solomon Hess (9 saves), Bailey Monteiro (2 saves); B — Eric Meindl (2 saves).