Rams boys soccer keeps physical Bassick at bay
It was chippy, physical and a bit controversial, but New Canaan composed itself en route to a comfortable victory.
The boys soccer team defeated Bassick 2-0 Tuesday night at Dunning Field, a game that was postponed two hours and moved from its original location (Connor Field, on the grounds of the town's middle school) due to the threat of thunderstorms.
The rain held off the entire game, and all that time merely built up the anxiety between the two clubs, which turned in a frisky affair, one that had both coaches pleading to officials for foul and no-foul calls.
Nevertheless, the Rams (4-1-1) got both their scores in the first half, and thanks to the terrific play from Scott Levene in the box, Bassick (2-3) couldn't capitalize on the few close-range opportunities it had at New Canaan's end.
"Our defense is young, inexperienced, so lately we've been working a lot on tightening it up, and they've played very well," New Canaan head coach Sanchez said.
Bassick had two shots in the first eight minutes that would've been goals against most teams in the FCIAC, but Levene read the strikes perfectly, keeping Nick Whyte and Marwane Agrignan from giving the Lions an early lead.
"I know they were looking to go through the middle, their center-midfield," Sanchez said. "We held them back for a large portion of the game. "We held off a strong, physical, tall team."
The Rams got on the board halfway through the first half after a Jon-Luke Ferrandino corner kick found the leg of Rory Shepard, who popped the ball up for defender Nick Deambrosio. The Rams' tallest talent easily punched the ball past Bassick goalie Gideon Masala for the 1-0 lead with 20:18 remaining.
New Canaan gave the game its ultimate tally less than three minutes later. It was Ferrandino on the right corner again, only this time he wouldn't need the help of his teammates. The New Canaan junior peeled off the corner-kick shot perfectly and placed the ball just below the crossbar as it curled over Masala's hands. It was 2-0, New Canaan, with 15:29 remaining.
"I usually try to hit it in the box, but I saw the keeper cheating a little out, and I knew it was a little windy, so I had to really get my hips around the ball," Ferrandino said, adding it was about the tenth time he'd made such a goal in organized soccer.
The Rams kept Bassick frustrated the remainder of the night after Ferrandino's goal.
"They (Bassick) were not that technical, they were give us a lot of balls, and they were overcommitting a lot of tackles, so we were able to send through balls (up the field)," Ferrandino said.
New Canaan's other goal-scorer agreed with the sentiment.
"They were a strong, physical team, but technically, I think we beat them," Deambrosio said.
Levene had 12 saves; Masala four. Sanchez said his team showed a different forte Tuesday night from what's made it a successful team so far in 2010.
"I've been very happy with our possession play and our transition offense," Sanchez said. "We haven't gotten the results or the goals out of it, but I like how they're playing there. I'm very happy, though, with the results of the transition defense, and the defense overall tonight."
At this juncture there's still plenty to work on, Sanchez added, though he doesn't have too many complaints. His teams aren't making too many unforced errors, which has been a key to winning four of the first six games.
"My key guys have been doing their job," he said. "I am expecting a little more from my outside mids. ... It's just a matter of capitalizing the opportunities we're given. It's still young in the season, so I'm not stressing it too much."