MIDDLETOWN >> A soccer team must be pretty good when its coach is dissatisfied with a 4-0 win.
That was the opinion of Middletown girls coach Nick Libera following his undefeated team’s easy Central Connecticut Conference South division win over Bristol Central at Rosek-Skubel Stadium Tuesday evening.
“I don’t think we played our best,” said Libera. “We gave the ball away a lot in the first half and I don’t think we were staying wide enough. I want them to use the whole field when they’re being marked. If we don’t move around and use the whole field, then it makes it easier for other teams to defend us.”
Even with that concern, Middletown (11-0-1) took a 3-0 first half lead. Central coach Scott Redman knew why.
“We played poorly,” Redman said. “The first half was just a pathetic effort on our part. You can’t do that against a team like Middletown. We did a better job in the second half, but that was nothing strategic; it was just a case of the kids deciding to put forth an effort. It was all effort in the second half.
“In the first 40 minutes they beat us to every single ball.”
Central (6-6-1 overall, 5-5-1 in the CCC) had just two shots in the first half and one was a direct kick.
Middletown got on the board with 33:58 left in the half when Alex DeFrance scored off a pass from Sam Fletcher. Goalkeeper Brianna Corbin had no chance on the shot.
The Blue Dragons scored again with 15:35 when Kellie Gambell’s penalty kick easily beat Corbin to her left.
Corbin made two good saves, one at 8:57 and the second at 7:29, but Middletown’s Alex Giardina put the game out of reach, nailing one over the head of Corbin with four seconds left in the half.
The Rams did a much better job on offense in the first 15 minutes of the second half, forcing Middletown keeper Amy Kozlowski to make two good saves, one with 32:30 to play and a second just a minute later.
But the Dragons were out of sight when Linnea Reich scored on a direct kick from 25 yards out with 28:33 left in the match, sneaking the ball between the leaping Corbin and the crossbar.
“I thought our defense played well,” said Libera. “[Jenny] Barbour was really solid and so was [Christina] Pizzuto. Kozlowski played well in goal, too, and I thought that DeFrance and Reich played really well overall in the midfield.”
The Blue Dragons had a 13-6 advantage in shots and both keepers had six saves.
Middletown has a busy schedule beginning Thursday and two of the teams are highly-rated. MHS plays at RHAM (8-2) of Hebron Thursday, is home with Platt of Meriden Friday at 3:30 p.m., then hosts Berlin (9-2-1) Monday. Berlin and Middletown tied 1-1 earlier this season.
“RHAM is very good and with all the rain on Thursday, I don’t know what will happen,” said Libera. “The game with Berlin looks like it will be for the division championship.”
The CCC playoffs begin next weekend.