TORRINGTON – The Torrington High School boys’ soccer team solidified themselves as the team to beat in the 3A East Conference over the weekend with wins over Buffalo and Riverton.
On Friday, No. 3-ranked Torrington came away with a 2-0 win over the No. 5-ranked Buffalo Bison.
It was a back-and-forth affair until senior Aidyn Saucedo netted the match’s first goal courtesy of an assist from senior Kieser Wolfe.
The score remained 1-0 until the 62nd minute when Chase Miller scored what proved to be the match’s final goal.
“We played really well in that one. It was good all-around soccer. We had possession, I don’t know, a bunch. A lot more than they did. We are really starting to figure out the switches and switching the ball,” THS coach Gabe Bartlett said. “It’s always chippy with Buffalo, and we kept our cool. We just kind of dominated that game which was good for us. Wished we could have scored a few more goals but it was good.”
The next day, Torrington had its hands full with Riverton in a 3-1 victory.
“You can’t say enough about these kids after that one. Adam Bartlett played the entire game. Cole Parriott, Grayson Shields. And that’s after playing nearly the entire game (on Friday),” Bartlett said. “They weren’t going to lose.”
In the sixth minute, Wolfe put the Blazers in front 1-0, but five minutes later, the momentum of the game shifted dramatically in the favor of the visitors.
Torrington senior goalkeeper Kyler Shields was issued a red card, meaning the Blazers had to finish the game short-handed.
Shields was carded for making contact with a Riverton player in the box while trying to make a save. The Wolverines were also given a penalty kick, ultimately tying the match at one apiece.
“They spent all the rest of the game figuring it out, reading the rule book and interrupting the rule book,” Bartlett said. “They figured there was a double jeopardy. It’s either you give him the red and there’s no penalty kick, or you give him a yellow and then there’s a penalty kick.”
As a result of the double jeopardy, the coach hopes the decision to sit Shields for five days following the red card will be overturned.
It left a noticeable hole in the middle of the field as Saucedo put on the goalie’s jersey and gloves for the remainder of the game.
“You really don’t realize how much one guy means to a team when until that one guy comes off and the space that it opens up,” Bartlett said. “The good thing for us, Riverton didn’t try to change much. We knew they were going to just try and kick it over the top of us and try to get their big stud to do it. They had a lot of space in the middle, and it hurts us there and hurts our attack because you are subbing off a defender.”
Despite that, it didn’t take long for Torrington to start shifting the momentum back to its favor.
“Coach (Lauren) Shields and I actually looked at each other about five minutes after the red card said we’re not going to lose this,” Bartlett said. “You could just tell they weren’t going to let us lose.”
The score remained 1-1 through halftime.
In the 48th minute, Wolfe used his speed to blow past the Riverton defensive line and goalie for an uncontested goal to put the Blazers back in front 2-1.
“When you have Kieser, Josh (Stitt)and Pipo (Rodriguez), who can run like the wind, their back line was still terrified,” Bartlett said.
Torrington capped off the match with a goal in the 78th minute off a corner kick which was redirected by Parriott to the back of the net.
“It’s an awesome testament to these kids,” Bartlett said.
Torrington (6-1 overall and 3-0 in the 3A East) hosts Rawlins (2-5 and 0-3) on Thursday. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.