TORRINGTON >> Torrington High School’s boys soccer team (13-1) found plenty to celebrate for senior night in a 7-0 win over Crosby (2-8-3) Tuesday night at the Robert H. Frost Sports Complex.
“It was a great night for the seniors,” said coach Mike Fritch Jr.
Crosby coach Michael Sullivan has mixed feelings on the subject.
On the one hand, he’d love to have a more experienced group: “Having 10 seniors (like Torrington) is a luxury on any club,” he said.
On the other, he’s glad his young team is gaining experience this year, looking forward to next, when many of the NVL’s teams are rebuilding.
“Our first objective is maximum effort,” Sullivan said.
The Red Raiders showed their colors early.
Two minutes into the game, a Torrington shot whistled close, stayed in play in the box, then came out to senior Juan Munoz for his first varsity goal, a line drive from 20 yards out.
Outmanning the Bulldogs, Torrington kept the ball in Crosby territory most of the game.
Five minutes in, the Raiders visibly relaxed. Shots rained on Crosby goalkeeper Damiahn DiPetro (12 saves), but the intensity was missing.
“We had a case of senior-itis,” said Coach Fritch. “We got that straightened out at halftime.”
“Relaxed” was impressive enough in the first half.
Senior Chris Parrotta slammed a shot off DiPetro a minute after the first goal; senior Shane Walker had a good try from the 18.
The Bulldogs got downfield for the first time eight minutes into the game.
A Torrington header went just wide in the next minute; Kevin Vaca almost curled a corner kick into the net in the 10th. Parrotta, another charge down the left side in the 12th; Walker from the top of the box in the 16th.
Twenty-four minutes into the game, Torrington’s second goal fell. Shane Bierfeldt threw in from the sideline to Vaca at center midfield. Vaca, a junior, found Amar Suljic 10 yards from the net. Suljic was on target, 2-0.
After Fritch’s wake-up call at the half, two things catalyzed Torrington’s second-half avalanche.
Intensity inspired, the Raiders doubled their first-half score in three minutes.
Down 4-0, Crosby coach Sullivan surveyed the odds, then turned to his bench.
“We have to win our last three games (to qualify for the state tournament),” he said. “I sent in the JVs early to rest the starters for the later games.”
The Bulldogs have Wilby, Sacred Heart and Kaynor Tech left on their schedule – all more beatable than Torrington.
The Raiders have just two more regular season games, on the road against Holy Cross and Kennedy. Then comes their real proving ground, in the eight-team NVL Tournament as the probable No. 2 seed behind undefeated Naugatuck, followed by the Class L State Tournament, in which they’re currently ranked sixth.
“We let (the seniors) play and enjoy themselves,” said Fritch, but there is serious business ahead.
Second-half goals struck regularly.
Vaca and Bierfeldt completed a give-and-go for the first one.
Parrotta had two in a row, in the third minute and the 11th.
He carried it all the way in from the left side, then shoveled it into the net with the outside of his foot for the first. Suljic saved him part of the trip on the second, with a pass as he pinched in from the wing, 5-0.
By the 12th minute, Fritch assigned his seniors to unfamiliar positions.
Griffin Pelkey crossed a ball from the right corner. Sweeper John McCarthy timed it perfectly for a goal on the fly just inside the right post.
Torrington’s subs got plenty of minutes, then seniors returned for their one-at-a-time recognition coming off the field.
Before that, Suljic and Bierfeldt connected for one more goal in front of the home crowd, 7-0.
Two minutes before the end, junior Alex Church trotted out to the net, relieving the last senior, goalkeeper Zack Paniati.
Next Tuesday, it’s back to business for Torrington at 9-4 Holy Cross.
If Crosby slips past 8-5 Wilby this Friday, next week could become a triumphant march for them.
Torrington 7, Crosby 0
At Torrington High School
Crosby 0 0-0
Torrington 2 5-7
Goals: T-Juan Munoz; Amar Suljic; Shane Bierfeldt 2; Chris Parrotta 2; John McCarthy. Assistants: T-Kevin Vaca 2; Suljic 2; Griffin Pelkey. Shots: 19-2 Torrington. Saves: C-Damiahn DiPetro 12. T-Zack Paniati 2.
Records: Crosby 2-8-3; Torrington 13-1.