Boys’ varsity soccer strong in second half of season

By Corey AmEnde - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Mon., Oct. 28, 2013
The boys went 3-5 in first half the season, including a 5-1 win against East Hartford on Sept. 16. Photos by Corey AmEnde.
The boys went 3-5 in first half the season, including a 5-1 win against East Hartford on Sept. 16. Photos by Corey AmEnde.

After losing 14 seniors from last year’s boys’ varsity soccer team to graduation, head coach John Tedesco said he was concerned about the prospects for this season. “I thought it was going to be more of a rebuilding year,” said Tedesco.  “I think everybody just pitched in and was like, okay, we don’t care.  It’s who we are and we’re going to go.”

The going was a little rough out of the gate this season, as the boys’ lost their first two games and five of their first eight overall. But the second half of the season was a different story, as the team only lost twice, while winning three and playing to draws in their final three matches of the regular season to finish at 6-7-3 overall.

“I’m most proud of how we’ve finished,” said Tedesco.  “We’ve come a long way from the beginning.  We had a rough start, and my goal as a coach is always grow and have the second half of the season be better than the first half of the season.”

One example of how the team has grown from the first half of the season to the second half is their record against perennial state power, Glastonbury.  The Tomahawks shutout the Indians 7-0 in their first match of the season at Glastonbury, on Sept. 27. In the second meeting of the season, on Oct. 21 at Manchester High School, the boys’ played Glastonbury to a 2-2 draw in their second-to-last game of the regular season.

“The fact that we’ve come together and bought into the program and the system is a proud thing for me,” said Tedesco.

Two of the key players this season have been senior co-captains Peter Godwin and Dylan Cherko.  Tedesco describes Godwin, a central defender, as “the kind of guy who cleans up all the messes.”  Cherko is a midfielder with versatility who played in the back, up top and on the wing this season.

In the net, backup goalie Jacob Neubauer, a junior, has come up big the second half of the season in the absence of starting keeper Markes Borjestedt, who is out with a broken hand. “He’s stepped up over the last few games and just really made some great key saves on breakaways and other things that without it we’re in trouble,” said Tedesco.

The boys now turn their attention to the Class LL State Tournament which begins the first week of November.  The pairings haven’t been determined as of press time. Tedesco said the key to a deep run in the tournament revolves around one word – “scoring.”

“I think our defense can hold,” said Tedesco.  “We’ve kept everything within reach.  All of our losses have been by a goal except our blowout [to Glastonbury], but we’ve been in everything and we have problems finishing. I think if we can get one early, build our confidence, I think we can maybe surprise some people.”

According to the, the first round of the state tournament is scheduled for Nov. 5. The finals are slated for Nov. 15-16.

Manchester lost to Naugatuck 1-0 in the first round of the state tournament last season.

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