By Mitchell McGowan
HAMDEN, Sept. 29 -- Hamden High School is not playing to its preseason expectations, coach Ken Boucher said before the team's Friday afternoon showdown with Sheehan and the 2-0 non-league loss didn't help get the Green Dragons there, either.
The Green Dragons (1-5) struggled throughout the beginning of the season leading up to their Friday night matchup against the Titans (5-2-1). Sheehan came into the game with its strong defense, which had only allowed four goals so far in the season.
Injuries to some of their key players have slowed Hamden, giving Sheehan the advantage before the game even began.
“We have four starters out, including our starting keeper,” Boucher said, “We got one starter back and lost another one last game, so it’s been really tough being young and losing our starters.”
Sheehan struck quickly, as midfielder Julia Podchaiski broke away for a goal in the seventh minute.
Sheehan played defense well, stopping most of Hamden’s attempts to move the ball down the field. The Titans defense forced Hamden to take unprepared and rushed shots. Players like Hamden’s Katie Vita tried to get a goal on the scoreboard, but the shots all went wide of the net.
Hamden attempted to use the halftime to spark a comeback in the game. Boucher changed Hamden’s strategy mid-game to try to generate more offense.
“Our normal formation is a 4-3-2-1, so I went with a 4-4-2 to try to get something going, but if you don’t possess the ball it just doesn’t make a difference.”
The energy boost did not last long.
Sheehan’s Grace Waldron stole the momentum back in the 41st minute of the game with a goal.
After the loss, Boucher stressed that the team is looking for a drive to score. He hopes to develop a mentality of attacking the net and scoring more goals.
“I am going to nurture and light a fire and find someone who wants to score a goal. We’ve only score four goals all year, and obviously no one is trying to kill themselves to put a ball in the net.”
Hamden hopes to make a comeback this season as they get some of their hurt players back.
“We’re trying to make up for it and get new players ready and in the game,” injured captain Emma Twohill said. "Hopefully, then it will make us stronger when everyone comes back, then everyone will be prepared. It’s been a hurdle, but we’re halfway through the season so for the second half we’re going to come back stronger.”
Hamden is taking the weekend off and will regroup at practice next week. Twohill looks forward to practice to implement and strengthen the team’s chemistry.
“The ideas are there, we just have to work on connecting the passes and executing the ideas because they’re there, it’s just not happening.”
Hamden will play again against Sacred Heart Academy at 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4. Sheehan will face Morgan at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30.
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)