WATERBURY >> Going into Tuesday night’s match on the road against Holy Cross at Municipal Stadium, the Red Raiders had a chance to tie two school records, wins in a regular season and shutouts in season by a goalie.
After a 3-0 win over the Crusaders the Raiders had accomplished both.
“The kids deserve every accolade that comes their way this season,” said Raiders head coach Mike Fritch Jr.
With the 14 wins in the regular season the Raiders tie the 1990 team that went 14-1-1 and were coached by his father, Mike Sr.
“It feels good, only one more to break the record” said Fritch Jr., after his team had tied the record. “It would be nice (to break it), like he (Fritch Sr.) said records are made to broken and it might as well be me doing it.”
The Raiders have 10 seniors on its team this season and being able to tie the record, with a chance to break it on Wednesday, in their final season is something that they are very proud of.
“It’s awesome, I think we can do it,” said senior captain, Shane Bierfeldt. “It’s a great feeling four years have paid off.”
Zack Paniati recorded his 10th shutout of the season in the win and tied Shawn Smedick’s record which was set in 1992.
“From where he was as a sophomore to where he is now, he has evolved into the best goalie in the league,” Fritch said about Paniati. “He has only given up six goals all year. Everything he gets he deserves.”
Paniati though happy with a share of the record, is focused more on the wins.
“It’s not as important to me as the wins,” said Paniati who said he couldn’t have done it without his defense. “Most of the credit goes to them; I haven’t had to make many tough saves this year.”
The Raiders set the tone early and never looked back.
“We wanted to set the tone,” said Fritch.
Bierfeldt scored the first goal of the game on a penalty kick and then Nick Mancini ran the length of the field, split two Crusader defenders to score the second goal of the game for the Red Raiders.
“It’s probably one of the best games we played this season,” said Bierfeldt. “We love playing on turf.”
In the second half, Mancini threw the ball into the box and junior, Amar Suljic headed it in giving the Raiders a commanding lead.
“The throw in has been a weapon for us all year,” said Fritch.
The Red Raiders return to action on Wednesday to take on Kennedy (4-11) at Municipal Stadium with a chance to break both records. Torrington beat Kennedy 8-1 in its first game of the season on Sept. 10.
“We’re going to shoot for it tomorrow and get the 11th shutout for Zack,” said Fritch.
Getting the record would not only make them the best regular season soccer team in school history, but it will be special for a group that has been together since they were kids.
“We’ve been playing together since we were seven,” said senior defender John McCarthy. “We’re best friends.”
Torrington 3 Holy Cross 0
At Municipal Stadium
Torrington 2 1-3
Holy Cross 0 0-0
Goals: T-Shane Bierfeldt; Nick Mancini; Amar Suljic.
Assists: T-Nick Mancini
Records: Torrington 14-1, Holy Cross 10-6.