TORRINGTON — The Torrington boys soccer team roared back from a three-game losing streak with a 5-1 win over Ansonia Friday evening at the Robert H. Frost Sports Complex.
The Red Raiders (5-4), led by three goals from sophomore Brayden Nietch, asserted control from the outset with the kind of intense pressure fans grew used to in Torrington’s 4-1 start on the season.
“We hit a rut,” said Coach Mike Fritch, explaining consecutive losses to Watertown, St. Paul and Crosby. “We changed our formation to bring more pressure up front and we did what we had to do today. We had to get our winning feeling back.”
The loss to league-leading Watertown was understandable, but the next two were not.
“We never brought intensity to the lower seeded teams,” Neitch said. “They came out to bite us and we weren’t expecting it. Then we couldn’t get back.”
“We worked on 50/50 balls,” said midfielder John McLaughlin, serving up a pair of great assists on Thursday.
Ansonia, despite a respectable 4-5 record, is still in its own rut.
“We started out with a good win over Seymour and it’s gone downhill ever since,” Coach Ryan Santo said.
Torrington star Xavier Rodas rolled an ankle in Wednesday’s loss to Crosby, but expects to return by next Friday.
Meanwhile, Raider intensity made up for his absence as Rodas watched on crutches.
In the first minute Friday, foreshadowing a 22-3 advantage in shots, Jahmario Seville served a pass to McLaughlin close to the net. That shot went over the net and another, 16 minutes later, clanged off the crossbar, but they served as warnings to the Chargers.
Twenty-two minutes into the game, McLaughlin and Seville switched roles in a bang-bang play starting with a pass from McLaughlin. Seville’s shot deflected off an Ansonia defender and into the net.
Ansonia sophomore goalkeeper Jamal Hanaif (17 saves) and Torrington keeper Kevin Hidrovo traded nice stops. Then, four minutes from the half, Neitch lit his star with a solo run past a defender and a hard left foot into the net.
A minute into the second half, the star still burned as Nietch did it again for a 3-0 Raider lead. Ten minutes in, Neitch got help from another McLaughlin pass into the box.
With the game all but over, Ansonia freshman Martin Mello put the Chargers on the board with a perfect 20-yard kick into the top of the net.
The Raiders had one more goal left. In the final minute, the pressure remained, in a pass from Luis Morales to Janos Herczeg for the final score.
“It’s much better to hit our rut in October than in November,” Fritch said.
“Now we can go back to trying for a better seeding in the (Class L) tournament,” Neitch said.