Ellis Tech soccer coach stresses game IQ

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Killingly - posted Mon., Sep. 30, 2013
An Ellis Tech player leads a charge on Putnam. Photos by D. Coffey.
An Ellis Tech player leads a charge on Putnam. Photos by D. Coffey.

After two overtimes on Sept. 25, the Ellis Tech boys’ soccer team had to settle for a 1-1 tie with Putnam. No one liked the feel of a draw after 90 hard minutes of play. Coach Matt Papuga and assistant coach Drew Mizak gathered their players around them before heading to the bus. They wanted to give them some advice to chew on during that long ride home.

“We’re good athletes. We had good opportunities. But we didn’t play smart,” Mizak said after the game. He wanted to see more touches, more looking at the whole field, less crowding the ball. He knows that game IQ will come with time. “We are reacting and not being proactive and thinking a pass or two ahead,” he said. “We’re just reacting to what we see at that moment.”

“If we can learn to spread out and play our positions, we’ll have a lot more scoring opportunities and we’ll do better job,” he said. 
The Golden Eagles are a predominantly young team. Three freshmen are in the starting lineup. “We lack in size up front,” Mizak said. “Our most skilled position players are at mid, providing support up front and getting back to play defense when needed.”

“This isn’t lack of effort,” Mizak said. “They are working hard. We just have to find a way to finish. When people have a break, they have to have the patience and the state of mind to calm themselves down. A nice placement to the bottom right corner instead of a hard kick to the top left of the net – we’d have a goal every time.”

Seniors Matt Snay and Kyle Watson, and junior Brendan Comtois captain the team. Watson was injured before the start of the season, but is expected to return to action in another week.

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