PROVIDENCE — Coventry junior captain Ryan Buglio and his brother, freshman midfielder Matt, have played out what happened in the 67th minute of Tuesday’s season open against Classical many times over the years.
The elder Buglio played a perfect out-swinging corner to the far post where Matt Buglio rose above his defender and headed the ball off the left post and into the net to give the Oakers the lead.
Coventry, behind the stout defending of Ryan Buglio, Nate Anderson, Andrew LeCampion and goalie Dominic Aguiar, made the goal stand up as the Oakers upended the defending Division II champions 1-0.
“I hope we can do that more often,” Ryan Buglio said of the play which decided the close contest. “I hope we have a few more goals and assists.”
“We have a play on the corner where the midfielders criss-cross and I was in the middle and I just kind of stayed there,” Matt Buglio said. “There was a man on me, but I kind of just jumped above him.”
While it’s just one win and there are so many more games the Oakers have to play, Tuesday’s win was crucial considering what happened when the teams met last year to open the season at Coventry.
The Purple (0-1 Division II) smashed the Oakers 4-1 and Coventry never seemed to recover from the defeat. Tuesday, Coventry (1-0 Division II) played cohesive soccer in front of its veteran defense and took its only real opportunity to score.
What made coach Jamie Cotnoir so happy was the fact that the team focused on soccer instead of retaliating or complaining to the referees. LeCampion picked up a yellow card in the first half, but it was for a foul Cotnoir was happy his captain took with the Purple attacking at the top of Coventry’s box.
“What I liked is we kept our heads and we played smart soccer,” Cotnoir said. “The first half we definitely looked rusty after not practicing for the last few days because of the rain. I think we weathered the storm in the first half and we showed what we’re capable of doing in the second half.”
Aguiar, who was making his first start, only had to make four saves and none of those saves came in the second half. The sophomore did make a magnificent point-blank stop 14 minutes into the contest to keep the game scoreless.
After LeCampion’s professional foul, Classical’s Kenny Cordoba-Ilamos blasted a free kick off the crossbar. The ball fell to a Purple player at the top of the six-yard box and Aguiar came out and blocked the shot.
“With every chance Dom gets he’s stepping up a little more,” Cotnoir said. “He’s getting a little more confident every time. You saw the difference between the first half and the second half with the way he owned his box. He’s definitely going to prove himself.”
“He showed he belongs here,” Ryan Buglio said of his goalie. “He’s ready for it. He saved us with that save when they had that shot at the top of the six. I’m very proud of him.”
Buglio and the defense kept Classical at bay in the first half, but they had to because the Oaker strikers struggled to hold the ball up. Cotnoir used four forwards in the first half and five in the second half looking for the right combination.
It appears he found the right combination in the second half as senior Colin Samuel and junior Ryan Francis combined a number of times to create chances.
The duo combined in the 67th minute to create the match-winning corner kick. Francis received the ball in Classical’s half of the field with his back to goal and he quickly flicked the ball to Samuel, who drove at the defense and earned a corner kick.
‘I think it’s a growing process because those two guys haven’t worked together too much,” Cotnoir said. “Colin was out all of last year and this is the first time Francis has played varsity. In the second half they were moving well and working together.”
The corner led to the only goal of the game as Buglio, who was one of two freshmen Cotnoir used, scored with a perfectly-placed header.
“He did a great job in that center midfield position,” Cotnoir said. “He keeps cool under pressure and he’s just a freshman getting knocked around by seniors. Nothing seems to faze him.”
“I think we’re only going to need one or two goals a game to win games,” Ryan Buglio said. “I hope this year we can shut a lot of teams out because we do have a strong defense.”