Eagles waiting for stars to emerge

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Tolland - posted Wed., Oct. 3, 2012
Senior co-captain Ethan Culver tries to get a ball under control near the goal line, late in the Eagles' 4-3 loss to Hartford Public on Oct. 1. Photos by Steve Smith.
Senior co-captain Ethan Culver tries to get a ball under control near the goal line, late in the Eagles' 4-3 loss to Hartford Public on Oct. 1. Photos by Steve Smith.

Coach Jim Leahy said his Tolland High School boys' varsity soccer team is playing well without any star players, but that isn't exactly how he'd like it, as they are losing some close games they could have won. After the 4-3 loss vs. Hartford Public on Oct. 1, in which the Eagles were up 3-0 in the first half, Leahy said his team made it too easy for the Owls to come back.

“You have to be able to kill off a game when you have a 3-0 lead,” he said, indicating where his team needs to improve. In general, the team is still finding its own collective identity, but Leahy added that while many of his players have talent and experience, they are not used to the spotlight, and now is the time they should be soaking it up.

“There aren't a lot of guys who are used to being the go-to players on the squad,” he said. “They're used to being more complimentary players. I think a lot of the seniors are going to have to step up and grab it by the horns and really control the play.”

While the Eagles don't seem to be struggling once they get in front of the net, holding the ball and more-controlled passing are what they need to create more chances and keep opponents from gaining momentum.

“We're trying to be perfect, instead of being simple,” Leahy said. “Soccer is a simple game, and when you make the simple pass and keep the ball, it looks much prettier. We've been trying to make perfect passes, and those are more difficult to complete.”

Leahy said senior strikcer Jack Moran is having a great season, and sophomore Zack Parasino is a good compliment. “They do some nice work together,” Leahy said, adding that younger players including Ryan Wallert, Tom Allen, Alex Weeks and Jordan Smith are also making great strides.

Health is a concern, with three defensive starters currently out, but Leahy said his team will be fine, and make a playoff push. “We have to just get back to fundamentals,” he said, “good solid defense and keeping the ball, once we get it on offense. We can finish, and I know we can defend. We just can't have those breakdowns.”

The Eagles (3-4 at press time) will travel to E.O. Smith on Oct. 3 and Wethersfield on Oct. 5.

For a complete schedule, visit www.casciac.org.


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