REDDING, Conn. Joel Barlow High School soccer coach Paul Winstanley has his eye on the prize following Wednesday's 8-0 trouncing of Oxford in the Falcons' season opener.
Well be happy if we can get to the SWC and state championship games, Winstanley said.
The Falcons fell short of that goal last year, reaching the semifinal game of the South-West Conference tournament and being eliminated in the first round of the state playoffs.
This year will be different, the coach said, if the team follows Winstanleys strategy of possession-oriented soccer, controlling the ball two-thirds of the time, which makes it difficult for the opponent to score.
We pass a lot, with quick, short passes, he said.
The strategy overwhelmed the Wolverines.
We got on them quick and they try and pass more and it opens more space for us, Winstanley said. We scored two goals quick and it changed their outlook on the field.
Junior Alex Gold, who scored four goals, recorded the first one five minutes into the game, and senior Finn Cohane scored the next one four minutes later. Barlow led 4-0 at the half and cruised to victory with four more in the second stanza, with senior Dante Spinelli scoring two.
Barlows problem last year was an inability to score close up.
We had nightmares in front of the goal, Winstanley said. We werent putting the ball in the frame, it was going wide and over.
On Wednesday, eight shots went in dead center.
The team is competing in the Patriot division of the SWC conference. Next up is a game at noon Saturday at Stratford.
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