By Austin Bruno
CHESHIRE -- A too-confident Cheshire High School boys soccer team lost its step and forgot the winning season's lessons of balance and chemistry in its last game before the start of the Southern Connecticut Conference series.
The relentless Wilbur Cross Governors cooled off the previously white-hot Rams, 3-0, at Cheshire High Thursday evening.
Cheshire (12-4-2) is fresh off a division-clinching win against Sheehan, but such good fortune didn't follow them into Thursday's non-conference game against Wilbur Cross (6-7-2).
Indeed, a Cheshire fan in attendance at this game "wanted a little momentum for Saturday." That's when Cheshire starts the conference series.
Cheshire had wrapped up their fourth Housatonic division title in 10 years. Yet after that boost of confidence, Cheshire faced off against Wilbur Cross, the apparent underdog.
Cheshire maintained possession for the majority of the first half of play, but lacked the initiative to capitalize on scoring opportunities.
"If we play like this, we're not going to go anywhere -- period. It's not in our DNA.... There's no desire, there's no motivation, and that's what happened today," Rams coach Arturo Branco said.
With 19:32 left in the first half, the Rams began to neglect their defense and Wilbur Cross began to take advantage, scoring its first goal.
Branco told his team at the half to keep pushing forward and continue to put up a brick wall of an offense.
But, Cheshire's offense relented a bit in the second half, no longer dominating possession of the ball. Senior defender Eric Dishnica pulled through with the closest goal scoring opportunity for Cheshire, met by an even more resilient Wilbur Cross defense.
In the middle of the half, a Cheshire corner kick was nearly headed in, but to no avail. That was quickly followed by a rebound that got swatted away with 16 minutes left in the game as the Rams grew desperate.
Cross responded with a proper goal, lifting them to a 2-0 lead with just 4:40 to play.
The game's final score was reached with 22 seconds left. The Rams never hit their offensive stride.
Rams senior defender Sidharth Subramani said that, after a successful season, there's a real need to keep egos deflated and to put the loss out of their mind.
"We need to stay humble, just to keep our head down and keep moving forward," he said.
Students in Quinnipiac University's JRN361: Sports Reporting course cover local high school sports competitions. Their work is showcased here.
Banner photo courtesy
Dana Jensen/The Day (2003)