Blue Devils get battle-tested

By KEN MORSE

CORRESPONDENT

There is an old adage that states, if you want to be the best you need to beat the best. The Plainville boys soccer team lives by that motto and in the process have become a very successful team in the post season.

In the last five years under head coach Tim Brown, the Blue Devils have gone 10-5 in the Class M state tournament reaching the quarterfinals three times and a semifinal appearance in 2013.

Some teams chose to pad their schedule with out of league opponents to raise their rankings in the state tournament and then get knocked out in the early rounds. Coach Brown in his 11th year at the helm choses to find all the healthy competition his team needs right in the Central Connecticut Conference the largest league in the state.

Playing against some of the heavy weights of the Class LL leaves Plainville coming in under the radar at tournament time; but that hasn’t stopped the Blue Devils from taking care of business finishing as Southern Region Patriot Division Champs last season.

Plainville is 5-5-1 on the season but lead the Southern Region with a 4-1 mark and is 2-0 in the Patriot Division. The Blue Devils had two tough 1-0 setbacks and a 2-1 loss showing that this team can play with the best of them.

The Blue and White were tested two weeks ago running into 9-2 South Windsor ranked fifth in Class LL falling by a 1-0 margin and then taking on 10-1 Hall ranked 3RD in Class LL in another 2-0 defeat.

“We have proven that we can play with anybody,” said Brown. “We don’t change our style of play no matter who the opponent is. The key is we don’t leave anything left in the tank at the end of a game.”

All the hard work paid off on Friday Oct 12 when they wore out Platt to the tune of an 8-0 win. A 5-1 loss to 8-2 Glastonbury last Tuesday was followed by a 1-1 tie to 7-2-1 Wethersfield on Friday setting up the Blue Devils for a showdown this week against three foes on the road.

The defense led by senior goal keeper Sergio Zaldivar didn’t allow Platt to get into an offensive groove. Senior defender John Siani and juniors James Pierce and Brady Beausoleil kept the Panthers out of the box for most of the game.

Michael Torres, Brendan Sauvron, and Dane Stephens led the senior offensive attack that gave the Blue Devils a 4-0 lead at the half. Stephens got it started seven minutes into the contest getting the best of the Platt keeper in a one and one breakaway.

Sophomore Patrick Gryczewski (2 goals) tallied a score on a penalty kick and put in the final goal of the first half. With 14 minutes to go in the half senior James Raucci was in the right place at the right time sending a rebound to the back of the net.

“The bottom line is no matter who you play you still have an opponent on the other side of the field and you need to go out and play your game,” said Brown. “Against Platt, we maintained our style of play; we connected our passes, scored some goals, and the most important part is we executed.”

Plainville continued its assault in the second half with the presence of senior Tim McCrorey and juniors Logan Miller and Jens Wadehn teaming up with sophomore Andrew Szymula to control the action at midfield.

Senior Zach Santini and juniors Luis Arango and Nathan Cyr helped the back line keep Platt from getting back into the game as Plainville finished off the Panthers sending four more goals to the back of the net.

Three minutes into the second half, senior Tyler Miller drove into the box and got one over the top of the goalie that settled into the back of the net. At the 13 minute mark, sophomore Tanner Rau scored on a breakaway and minutes later sophomore Tucker Rau matched his brother sending one past the keeper.

With two minutes left to play, junior Joe Page put the final tally on the board breaking into the box and drilling one to the far post for the 8-0 final margin.

“We have a standard that we want to maintain,” said Brown. “I’m not going to complain one bit about some of the tougher teams on our schedule. Those are the teams that are going to make us better in the long run.”

“We need to be challenged. We want to be challenged. We wouldn’t want it any other way. We welcome the challenge because that is what will makes us a better team.”

This week, the Blue Devils take on Middletown on Monday, E.O. Smith on Thursday and finish out the week on Saturday at Tolland, a team that is ranked six positions ahead of Plainville in Class M.

The regular season ends next week with the division title at stake when the Blue Devils return home to face 7-2-2 Bristol Eastern on Tuesday, Oct. 23, and then finish the season at Bristol Central on Friday, Oct. 26.

Plainville junior Brady Beausoleil finds an opening against Platt.