HIGGANUM >> Maybe it wasn’t a classic must game, but from Hale-Ray’s point of view, it was about as close to that as it could get.
“It was a needed win,” said Hale-Ray coach Jeff Legg after his team snapped Haddam-Killingworth’s six-game winning streak with a 2-1 boys soccer victory Monday afternoon at H-K High School.
“We underachieved a bit this season, so we’re trying to reset our season,” Legg added. “We realized we’re not making the Shoreline Conference tournament, so we’re dedicated to getting ready for the state tournament.”
It’s not that the Little Noises are having a bad season. The club is 6-3-3, but those ties hurt.
“Yeah, we got bit on ties,” said Legg. “We have only three losses, all to the top three teams in the league. We needed a win against a competitive team and we got that today.”
Hale-Ray won the game in the first half, taking a 2-0 lead at intermission. The Noises got a goal from Mathias Nevin about 10 minutes into the match. The ball caromed off the left post to Nevin who put it in.
Zach Wright had the assist on Nevin’s goal.
Hale-Ray made it 2-0 eight minutes later when Matt Vaccarino scored.
“They dominated a little bit in the first half,” said H-K coach James Larkin. “But I thought we had the better of play in the second half. We had a couple of missed marks in the first half and we paid for it.”
The Cougars clearly dominated the second half. H-K cut the lead to 2-1 when Liam Blancaflor scored off a pass from John Schuster just two minutes into the half.
“We played well in the first 40 minutes,” said Legg. “We did a lot of what we wanted to do. But in the second half we curled up a little bit. We tend to look at the scoreboard too much. But we were able to hold on.”
Hale-Ray had a chance to open up a two-goal lead, but a shot hit the post with about 15 minutes left in the match.
The statistics reflect the closeness of the match. H-K had five shots while Hale-Ray had seven. H-K keeper Eliot Linsky had four saves, while Hale-Ray keeper Jake Linares had two.
“I thought it would be a close match,” said Larkin. “But I thought we played well in the second half. We had our chances.”
H-K (6-5) began the season with four losses, but then turned things around and won six in a row.
“We have been playing really well,” said Larkin. “If we continue to play as we have, we’ll be fine.”
It was only the second win in the last seven matches for Hale-Ray (two ties).
The Noises play at The Morgan School in Clinton Thursday at 6:30 p.m. H-K is home with Valley Regional Wednesday at 3:45 p.m.