TORRINGTON >> Wethersfield contained Torrington’s speed while showing plenty of their own in a 4-1 Class L second-round boys soccer win at Torrington High School Thursday evening.
Christian Venditto, Matt Jablonka and Lukas Szymecki sped down both sides of the field for a 3-1 advantage at the half, despite a near-draw in shots (8-7 Wethersfield).
“It’s all speed,” said Torrington Coach Mike Fritch.
Torrington depended on sprinter Naseem Thompson all year as its primary threat in the middle of the Raider offense.
On Thursday, Thompson just missed in close in the second minute. A minute later, Wethersfield’s Christian Venditti took a cross-field pass from Brendan Barry on the left wing, bouncing in a 20-yard shot off the far post for the game’s first goal.
The Raiders stayed in it for two more great chances. Then sophomore Jimmy Friscia sailed in a shot from the top of the keepers’ box for a 1-1 tie.
But the Eagles had another gear.
“We had a five-game losing streak near the end of the season, then beat (Class LL) Newington 6-1 in our last game to show we were back,” said Coach Rob Jachym. “We’re in a good stretch right now.”
Torrington goalkeeper Luke Wassik dove to deflect one shot skimming past him.
Lukas Szymecki raced up the left side moments later, banging a shot off Wasik with Matt Jablonka on hand to tip it in for the Wethersfield lead.
Four minutes later, Szymecki raced up the left side again. This time, he got all the way to the goal for a 3-1 Eagle advantage.
“They’re a good team – a very good team,” said Coach Fritch. “At the beginning of the year, we would have crumbled completely. This time, we didn’t.”
“They’re dangerous with (Thompson),” said Coach Jachym. “We were not comfortable with 3-1. One long pass to him up the middle and they’re back in the game.”
Six minutes into the second half, Thompson skimmed a shot along the top of the crossbar. Midway through the half, Nick DalleValle bounced a shot off the post.
More and more, as time moved past, the Torrington strategy was exactly what Jachym feared – long passes for Thompson in hopes that the junior could catch up to it and race it in.
The Eagles, from a CCC conference full of Class LL schools, were up to the challenge.
“We play a lot of good teams,” said Szymecki.
With four minutes left, Szymecki and Barry eliminated their coach’s last concerns with a pass from Barry over goalkeeper Wassik’s head as he charged the ball.
Szymecki took the pass a few steps away from the open goal for the final score.
Torrington finishes its season 12-6-1 and plenty of hope for next year.
“We’re young,” said Fritch.
Wethersfield (11-6-1) plays a quarterfinal game at No. 2 Hand-Madison (12-1-1) Saturday afternoon.
No. 10 Wethersfield 4, No. 7 Torrington 1
At Torrington High School
Wethersfield 3 1 – 4
Torrington 1 0 – 1
Goals: W – Christian Venditti; Matt Jablonka; Lukas Szymecki 2. T – Jimmy Friscia. Assists: W – Brendan Barry 2; Szymecki. Shots: 14-10 Wethersfield. Saves: W – Enrico Gion friddo 7; Luke Wassik 8.
Records: Wethersfield 11-6-1; Torrington 12-6-1.