The Cowboys defeated Housatonic team 6-0 Thursday afternoon at their Plum Hill Sports Complex. Junior Tim Donovan scored five of the goals while senior Dan Pang broke through for the first score of the season by any other Litchfield player than Donovan.
As a sophomore, leading Litchfield (3-0) to the Class S semifinals with wingman and fellow All-Stater Charlie Shanks, Donovan broke Matt Hula’s single-season Cowboy scoring record (27) with 30 goals. He came into this season with 42 goals, building toward Alex Hula’s career-record 64.
He has 10 so far this year.
But when you watch him play, you’ll see the truth in this comment from Donovan: “For most fans, it’s always about goals and assists. The game of soccer is more than that.”
Wednesday, Donovan’s first-minute goal made his point.
Pang, who played only club soccer until this year, sent a perfect line drive cross from the right corner. Donovan jumped for it in front of the net, caught it midair on his foot and sent it in.
“Aerial touches don’t just happen. You have to work on them,” he said.
That’s also true of Pang’s role of replacing Shanks, one of the best setup men in the state last year.
“Dan has good shoes to fill,” Donovan said. “Me and Charlie’s connection was special.”
“It’s a lot of responsibility,” Pang said.
With the graduation of Shanks and several other key players, Coach Andrulis thought this would be a rebuilding year for the defending Berkshire League co-champions (with Lewis Mills).
“I thought maybe by October we would be a good team, but (Pang) and central defender Evan Fischtall came out along with several others. These guys worked their butts off and it shows.
“And, of course, when you have (Tim Donovan), it helps.”
With Mills’ departure for the Central Connecticut Conference, Litchfield rides on top of the league in the early going, thanks to a stiff defense and, of course, Donovan.
Despite greater aggressiveness by the Mountaineers for much of the first half, Pang delivered the ball again with nine minutes left in the period. Donovan’s shot was good from 10 yards out on the right side.
Two minutes from the half, Luke Parsons got Donvan the ball with Mountaineer goalie Jacob Sheltra halfway between Donovan and the goal. Donovan delivered a soft grounder into the net.
Eight minutes into the second half, Donovan and Pang changed roles. Donovan, just off Housy’s left post, picked up the ball out of a scramble, fired it to Pang in front of the net and in, like a bang-bang baseball play at home.
Two minutes later, approaching an advancing Sheltra from the right side, Donovan floated his fourth goal over the keeper’s head.
The final goal came from a would-be Mountaineer clear. Donovan caught it midair and sent it back to the net.
“It was a good old-fashioned whipping,” Housatonic coach Jim Terrall said. “We knew (Donovan) was there and we didn’t have anyone who could take care of him.”