Boys soccer: Red Devils learning against SWC opponents

Stratford High’s Chris Anstis looks to keep pace with the Nighthawks’ Owen Baillargeon. — Andy Hutchison photo

Stratford High’s boys soccer team was beaten 6-0 by host Newtown at Treadwell Park on Thursday afternoon.

Coach Ryan Jockers’ Red Devils, who defeated Bethel 3-2 in the season opener to match last year’s win total, fell to 1-2. Newtown evened its record at 1-1.

“We got off to a good start. The last two games have been tough,” said Jockers, whose team was defeated 4-1 by New Milford on Sept. 11.

Stratford played two goalkeepers; Justin Forzis made five saves and Nicholas Gonzalez stopped two shots.

The Nighthawks’ Rilind Limani and Owen Baillargeon each scored twice, and Joe Premus and Henry Vaughan also scored.

Stratford defender Chris Anstis and forward Adolpho Pacheco had solid games.

Zachary Fedak led Stratford with three shots, and Maxwell Maria, Preston Williams, Max Nierenberg, Nicholas Cuevas, Anstis and Pacheco all registered shots.

Jockers is hopeful the Red Devils learn from this game.

“I hope they gain a greater sense of awareness on the field. There were many times in the first half when a Newtown player just walked by them in the attacking half,” Jockers said.

At the same time, the Red Devils knew they were in for a tough task playing against what has been one of the South-West Conference’s top programs. Newtown possessed the ball for much of the game and used a strong passing effort to create scoring chances.

“It definitely shows us what we need to work on in practice a lot more, and it shows we need to step up our game,” said Williams, a defender and captain.

“We need to practice hard, work hard and play every game from the first whistle to the last whistle,” added Anstis, a captain.

Anstis thought Stratford’s goalkeepers played well given how strong Newtown’s chances were.

“None of the goals were their responsibility,” Anstis said.

“To come away without any points from this match isn’t going to dictate their whole season and what we’ve set out to do,” Jockers said.

Jockers and assistant coach Stewart Diaz were teammates at Bunnell High and are working together in an effort to build Stratford’s program into one that is more competitive.

“We’re finding our chemistry as a team. We have a solid group of young players. They’re respectful and very coachable,” Diaz said.

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