By James Anderson
CHESHIRE--A fast paced, creative offensive attack, a strong defensive system and chemistry carried the Cheshire High School boys soccer team this season.
With a 2-0 win over Sheehan, Cheshire (11-1-2) clinched the Housatonic Division title of the Southern Connecticut Conference for the first time since 2011 with a 5-1-1 record.
The Rams also won the division as the outright champions for the first time since 2006 after sharing in 2007 and '11.
The division-clinching win came at home against the Titans (5-5-4, 3-2-2 SCC Housatonic). To do it, the Rams paid extra attention to sticking to their defensive formation. The Rams were disciplined and only left their 4-4-2 setup in obvious offensive situations.
Cheshire head coach Artur Branco said that this was all a part of shutting down one particular Sheehan forward – Alex Ramirez
“Today we really focused more on our defensive shape because they are a very good team… (Ramirez) is a really good player for them,” Branco said. “Our focus was really to neutralize him. We felt if we did that the game would take care of itself. ”
Ramirez produced three strong early opportunities for the Titans, but the Rams defense shut him and the Titans offense down only allowing three shots on goal for the entire game.
All-conference forward Jacob Goldstein paced the Rams' fast-paced offense as he continued to add to his strong senior year performance with two goals.
Goldstein’s first goal came 10 minutes into the game. Off a broken play, the ball was lobbed to junior Mitch Manware. Manware crossed the ball in with pace to Goldstein for a beautiful heel flick deflection into the side netting.
The second goal came seven minutes into the second half. A long through-ball pass from junior Dante Rubano led Goldstein. Beating out a defender, Goldstein went to the net on a breakaway and poked it under the arms of charging sophomore goaltender Nicolas Trivino Martinez.
That was all the offense needed to clinch the win.
Eighteen of the 23 roster members of the Rams are upperclassmen, many of whom made up last years’ four-win team.
Goldstein believes that the familiarity in the roster has attributed to the team’s success.
“Over the years, we’ve played together a lot,” Goldstein said. “Even the incoming freshmen, we’ve played with them before. It also helps coming into the season, everybody knew (the freshmen). It certainly helps for team chemistry.”
Two of the three freshmen on the roster are brothers of upperclassmen on the team – Goldstein’s younger brother Toby is on the squad, as are the Mayano brothers, Andrew a junior, and freshman Matthew.
While proud of the teams’ accomplishment, Branco knows there is the tougher test of the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament to prepare for.
“We’re going to try and enjoy it tonight,” Branco said. “We have another game Wednesday. We’re going to look at it as a learning opportunity to prepare for the games ahead.”
The Rams finish up the regular season at home Wednesday as they host Wilbur Cross. The SCC Tournament starts Saturday.
Students of Quinnipiac University's JRN361 course covered local high school sports competitions in Fall '15. Their work is showcased here.
Banner photo courtesy
Dana Jensen/The Day (2003)