Highs and lows of soccer in SCC
Knocking off an unbeaten team, and then falling by a large margin in the next game is a way of life in the Southern Connecticut Conference for coach Rick DiStefano’s Foran High boys soccer team.
The Lions team took a 3-0 halftime lead on its way to handing Amity of Woodbridge its first loss of the season on Oct. 9. Keeper Tim Orozco stopped six shots in the 3-2 win, as Amity dropped to 8-1-2.
Julian Yuliawan scored off an assist from Cedrick Lingane only four minutes into the contest for the Lions, who improved to 2-6-1.
Yuliawan made it 2-0 on a penalty kick 10 minutes later.
Foran upped its advantage to three goals when Lingane, from Justin Kassouf, scored at the 29-minute mark.
Amity’s Dean Schwartz scored on a penalty kick seven minutes into the second half, and Justyn Broderick’s tally with 11 minutes remaining made it a one-goal game.
Amity outshot Foran, 12-7. Griffin Volta had four saves for the Spartans.
Amity bounced back in its next game to defeat Shelton, 1-0, to sew up the SCC Housatonic Division title.
Meanwhile, on the next night after its win, Foran had to travel to Madison to take on an 8-3-1 Daniel Hand team that is battling Guilford for the SCC Hammonassett Division title.
The Tigers coasted to a 7-0 victory in the divisional game.
That set up Monday night’s game for Foran with the Guilford Indians at the Vito DeVito Sports Complex.
Guilford brought in a 7-2-1 mark and was trailing Daniel Hand by a game in the loss column.
The Indians defeated the Lions, 1-0, in their first meeting back on Sept. 20, which prompted a four-game slide by the locals.
This time, Guilford was able to grab a 1-0 lead in with 15:12 remaining in the first half and build its way to a 4-1 victory.
“We were chasing the game down 1-0,” DiStefano said. “We tried to go forward more in the second half, and that created more space for them.
“We held our shape and had an organized game. All credit to them.”
Guilford often looked to go over the top to speedy forward Noah Elmeleki, but Kassouf led a stout defense made up of John Casey, Paul Mirmina and Tyler Kasuba to clear the ball in front of Orozco.
Alex Eager played an exceptional game at midfield, showing off his field intelligence and grit to take away the second pass.
Orozco, who had four saves, came off his line three times in the first 10 minutes to stall the Guilford attack.
Foran’s best chance in the early going came at 31:22 when Yuliawan and Adrian Burton worked a give-and-go that led to Casey taking the ball down the far sideline.
The senior swung it wide to Mirmina playing up, and he fed Yuliawan, who made one move before his shot was blocked by the Indians’ Brian Dacorte before it could reach keeper Nick Wilson.
At 29:07, Eager’s pass to Yuliawan led to a tripping penalty, but Ethan Hannah’s free kick from 30 yards out missed the pack in front.
Fine play in the midfield by Foran’s Lingane, Eager, Burton, Hannah and Leandro Jorge saw the Lions go toe-to-toe with the Indians over the next 10 minutes. But Guilford made things difficult for the Lions to build from the back.
Guilford’s Noah Rattet broke the scoreless match with a deep blast that glanced off Orozco’s gloves and skittered into the net at 15:12.
Foran had two opportunities to draw even before the break, as Yuliawan created some space, but his shot from distance was wide, and Mirmina’s chip into the box was cleared before a Lion could make a play.
“I thought we played well enough to get a result,” DiStefano said. “We had a good performance out of a lot of players. We didn’t craft enough to counter once they built a lead.”
Jake Kubick, Patrick LaPenna, Jimmy Berkovich, Kyle Greenspan, Claudio Dos Santos, Drew Lenz and Pat Leary came off the bench for the Lions to help carry the play.
Orozco showed off his athleticism when he came off his line and beat Elmeleki to a through ball, which he blocked with his arm to give Guilford the first corner opportunity of the game in the 48th minute.
TJ Williams made his run and got inside position to head in Ben Rattet’s corner for a 2-0 Guilford lead.
Foran looked to counter, as Jorge took a goal kick and led it to Burton, who drew a penalty 45 yards out.
Kassouf’s free kick was right on Yuliawan, but his try in a crowd went wide.
Casey squared up with Noah Rattet to stop a run by the Guilford captain, but the resulting throw in led to Kyle Bianchi sending a pretty cross to Williams, who punched in his second goal 11 minutes into the second half.
With 5:46 left, Noah Rattet had an eye-opening goal when he curled the ball inside the far post.
Yuliawan had a head flick on net at 4:25, before Lingane matched the beauty of Guilford’s final goal with the Lions’ first.
A quick passing sequence found Yuliawan giving the ball to Lingane 30 yards out, and the left-footed sophomore turned in a crowd of three defenders and bent the ball with his right foot inside the far post and around a stunned Wilson (two saves).
“At the end of the day, the result was a little hard, but that’s football,” DiStefano said. “We still hold destiny in our hands.”
Foran played host to Jonathan Law last night and completes its home regular season with Career/Hillhouse on Monday at 3:45 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 21.