By KEN MORSE
The Plainville girls soccer team got off to its best start since 2011 a Blue Devils team that began 5-1 and finished with a 9-6-1 mark before dropping a first round game in the Class M state tournament.
Two weeks into this season Plainville stood at 3-1-1 surrendering just 7 goals in five games. The quick start has head coach Leszek Wrona encouraged about his girls chances
An experienced backline defense led by seniors Isabella Niziolek, Rachel Parsons and Sarah Tomczyk along with sophomore Lyndsey DiTolla has the Lady Blue Devils poised to make a run at a state tournament bid.
Plainville missed the post season last year by a mere three points in the standings and with veteran goal keepers, seniors Caitlin Barker and Madeline Rund in the net their chances are looking pretty good at making the states for the first time since 2014.
In the second game of the season, sophomore forward Krystyna Miller displayed her firepower when she sent five goals to the back of the net in a convincing 8-3 win over Bristol Central.
The Lady Blue Devils got a chance to show off some of the other options they have to kick start their offense when seven players scored during a 7-0 victory over Bulkeley/Weaver on Sept. 17.
Senior Olympia Bielawski and freshman Morgan Levesque scored goals along with a deep and talented sophomore class led by Miller and Lyndsey DiTolla. Sophomores Jordan Thompkins, Cortney Ouellette, and Delaney Beausoleil also added goals in the Blue and White attack.
Last week, the offense took a step backwards after they outshot Maloney by a 15-4 margin but had to settle for a scoreless 0-0 draw.
“We have to secure the backline first,” said Wrona, who is in his 23rd season at the helm. “We don’t have a huge program like some of the other schools we play, so defense is what we focus on to keep us competitive.”
On Wednesday, Sept. 26, Plainville went up against a tough Berlin team and came away on the short end of a 1-0 decision. Alexandra Martino scored the only goal of the game for Berlin with 30 minutes left in the contest.
Barker made several gutsy stops at point blank range to keep the Blue Devils within striking distance. However, with Miller hampered by a sore quad muscle, the Plainville offense was just a step behind their opportunities.
On numerous attempts Miller took the ball within scoring range only to be double and triple teamed, as the weak side help was 10 to 15 yards behind the play.
Plainville was winning most 50/50 balls at midfield with a relentless effort from seniors, Ebelyn Rodriguez, Kayla DiTolla, and Kara Beloin but Berlin was playing a physical game.
The Blue Devils had only seniors Andrea Nilson and Jenny Francisco along with sophomore Skyler Ibitz and freshman Janessa Ramos and Emily Serrano-Aviles as depth on the bench while Berlin was sending in four and five players at a time as replacements taking a toll on the Blue Devils down the stretch.
“The girls are working extremely hard,” said Wrona. “We don’t have a big bench to work with and they get tired late in the game. Krystyna has a sore quad and it affects her speed to the ball. But the girls never give up and we are building on that effort.”
Last Friday Plainville hit another bump in the road dropping a 5-1 outcome to East Catholic. Ouellette put on to the back of the net for the Blue Devils and goal keepers Barker and Rund combined for 12 saves but East Catholic managed to stop 10 shots and two goals from Lindsey Barfield was more than enough to pull out the victory.
“We have good solid senior leadership,” said Wrona. “But we also have a very large talented sophomore group who are still gaining experience.”
“We have run into a tough stretch of games against some very good teams. But we are getting better each game and we are looking forward to staying competitive and make a run at the state tournament.”
Plainville will look to get back into the win column this week and snap the two game skid as they take on Windsor on Wednesday and Platt on Friday. The Blue Devils will face off against Hall next Tuesday their fourth straight road game before returning home next Friday taking on Rocky Hill.
The Blue and White will have the schedule on their side heading down the stretch of the season playing five of their final six games at home.