COVENTRY- In their one and only meeting of the regular season, the Coventry boys soccer team had little difficulty dispatching the Lions from Lincoln, as they turned a 4-0 halftime lead into a 9-2 win by game’s end, allowing them to maintain their position atop Division II play in the early stages of the season with a 3-0-0 record.
Lincoln meanwhile, dropped to 0-3-0 with the defeat, as they have been thoroughly outscored 17-4 through their first three contests. Matt Johnson and Greg DeNigris each netted a pair of goals on the day, while Matt Buglio, Rob Regine, Brendan Organ, Anthony Dellagrotta and Michele Picozzi all got the chance to celebrate with their teammates following goals of their own in the win.
Nolan Wagner had a pair of assists, while Buglio, Johnson, DeNigris and Picozzi all recorded assists as well for the Oakers, who for the time being, can seem to do no wrong.
“We’re firing on all cylinders right now,” head coach Jamie Cotnoir said after the win. He attributes his team success in large part to the familiarity they all have with one another.
“I’ve got ten seniors that have been playing together now for a long time and they just know where each other is and they all play at a really high level and communicate really well,” he said.
Co-captain James Kozlowski and sophomore Walter Albizures each found the back of the net for the visitors, both doing so in the second half. David Leonardi recorded 8 saves on the day for the Lions, while Coventry split up their goaltending responsibilities, as DeNigris had 7 saves in the first half, before junior Cameron Major took over in net in the second and recorded three saves of his own. Lincoln head coach John D’Aloisio credited the Oakers for putting together an all-around dominant performance on the day.
“That’s a strong team,” he said. As for his own club, who is still in search of their first victory of the season, D’Aloisio has not been able to pinpoint a primary reason for the team’s struggles thus far.
“If I knew the answer to that, it wouldn’t be as difficult,” he said.
Kozlowski and co-captain Matt Mardo comprise half of the team’s seniors on a sophomore-heavy team, but D’Aloisio does not want to pin everything on experience.
“It is a young team, but you can’t use that every year,” he said.
A lot of the Lincoln players displayed strong ball handling skills, but we unable to turn them into successful advances down the field, an area the team will be looking to improve upon moving forward.
“We’ve got some issues that we’re trying to resolve. I think that if they can put together some good sequences, get some good offensive plays and even keep the ball in the other team’s end for maybe five, six, seven minutes, the other team will come down once and finish off a goal,” D’Aloisio said.
With still plenty of time to climb back into the playoff race, he is not hanging up any hopes on this year’s team.
“Just get back at it. There’s a lot of the season left. Any ship can be righted, hopefully and they understand that,” he said of his players.
Though it is only mid-September, Cotnoir is confident that his team, who made it to the semi-finals of last year’s State Tournament, has the potential do reach similar heights in 2016.
“As long as we stay healthy, I think we’ll have good chances down the stretch. We’re playing good soccer right now. I’d like to be playing great soccer by the end of October and roll that right into the playoffs,” he said.
He made reference to his team’s showdown with Moses Brown next Tuesday as a game that will help indicate just how strong his own club is.
“The real test should be next week with Moses Brown here,” he said.
The Quakers were the ones to end Coventry’s postseason run in 2015, something Coventry will surely have on their minds next week. Coventry will be right back in action on Wednesday, as they travel down to Middletown to take on the Islanders, while the Lions will travel to Mt. Pleasant on Friday for a 3:30 p.m. game.