TORRINGTON – On a cold, windy evening, the Torrington High School boys’ soccer team lost to the Scottsbluff (Nebraska) Bearcats, 2-1.
The loss snapped a five-match winning streak, dropping the Blazers to 6-2 overall and 3-0 in the 3A East Conference.
In the first half, the visiting Bearcats had the aid of the stiff north wind. Despite that, Torrington managed to get some good looks at the goal, but were unable to get one past the Scottsbluff goalkeeper.
In the 12th minute, the Bearcats netted the match’s first goal.
“That first 10 minutes or so, we didn’t play Torrington soccer and set the tone, a little bit, for the rest of the game,” THS coach Gabe Bartlett said. “It got started a little slow. We were worried about that coming off a big weekend. We let them dictate how they wanted to play.”
After the Bearcat score, Bartlett said the team settled down and did a better job.
“After they scored, I thought we did a much better job of turning it around, being more on our front foot and attacking them,” he said.
Finally, in the 30th minute, senior Deagan Keith scored the equalizer on a free kick which slipped past the Scottsbluff keeper after getting bounced around inside a crowd of players in front of the goal.
The score remained 1-1 through halftime, but it didn’t take long for Scottsbluff to break the tie in the second half. In the 43rd minute, the Bearcats made it a 2-1 match.
The Blazers looked to answer again only four minutes later. Senior Josh Stitt’s corner kick was headed by Keith into the back of the net, but the goal was taken off the scoreboard due to an obstruction call.
“You can stand right next to the goalkeeper, there’s no requirement against that,” Bartlett said. “You can’t face guard him, check him out or box him out. The explanation Kieser (Wolfe) got was, he was doing that.”
Torrington ended up getting several more shot attempts off over the final 30 minutes of the match but were never able to score for the remainder of the match.
“I thought we had some great looks. At times, we got a little too direct, looking to Kieser,” Bartlett said. “We get a little panicked in those situations, and if we can settle down and play more of a possession, it’ll open things up so much more. It’s still a work in progress.
“I thought for the most part, we were equal to or better than them at times throughout the game. It just didn’t pan out and go our way.”
Meanwhile, the Torrington Lady Blazers (1-7 overall and 0-3 in the 3A East) traveled to Scottsbluff, falling 7-0.
Scottsbluff scored two goals in the first half and added five more in the second half.
Torrington returns to action on Thursday, April 21 at Newcastle before starting the teams’ second trip through the 3A East Conference. The girls’ match kicks off at 4 p.m. with the boys to follow at 6 p.m.