Woznicki named all-American by United Soccer Coaches

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By MICHAEL LETENDRE

STAFF WRITER

BRISTOL—Without a doubt, Bristol Eastern boys soccer stud Jake Woznicki, was going off to play the sport at the collegiate level. But before he moved on from Bristol Eastern, Woznicki earned a postseason award or two for his outstanding play during the 2019 campaign. And was of those honors was something never before seen at Bristol Eastern.

Five boys from Connecticut were recently named All-American and Woznicki was able to share in that honor. The United Soccer Coaches made Woznicki one of their selections along with Hand Junior Scott Testori, Trumbull senior Tiago Frazao, Windham senior Alfonso Vazquez Villar, and Litchfield junior Timmy Donovan (36 goals).

“I’ve seen players have great years and just do things that were special but the way [Woznicki] did it was extraordinary,” said Eastern assistant boys soccer coach Bunty Ray. “He just took a huge jump from his first three years to his senior year and you can’t really put your finger on one thing but the way he carried himself, the way he carried the team in terms of his ability to not only lead team but also work on his individual game [was amazing]. That was an unbelievable thing to see.”

Woznicki was also named All-State in a season that saw the senior kick in 39 goals. He also added six assists to his ledger, completing an amazing streak of All-New England, All-State and four consecutive CCC South All-Conference nods.

For his career, his 72 goals is the Bristol Eastern program record – an amazing total that rivaled the very best in the state.

No one in Bristol Eastern program history came even close to the offensive onslaught Woznicki unleashed on the Central Connecticut Conference this past year. And just before Thanksgiving, Woznicki finally made his collegiate intentions known. Woznicki signed his National Letter of Intent to play men’s soccer at Stonehill College in the fall of 2020.

Stonehill is getting a polished offensive talent that won’t only jam balls into the net but will quickly set his mates up with potential shots and scores. No one came even close to the 39 goals he scored in one season, a single-season scoring record at Bristol Eastern.

“He had a great season,” said Eastern coach Bill Sweet of Woznicki. “He never cheated us.”

Opponents marked the forward with two or three defenders some matches, even spent significant time on strategies in how to slow down Woznicki but in the end, only one team was able to hang a loss on the Lancers and that was Guilford in a Class L quarterfinal contest, a 1-0 final on November 15 – coming at the buzzer.

Even off a hot scoring start to the season for the forward, his offense was nearly the same over both the first and second half of the campaign. That’s amazing consistency for the tuba player (yes, tuba) and opposing coaches marveled at Woznicki’s abilities under duress.

“He takes advantages of your mistakes so you have to play on your toes and you have to compete every single time,” said Bristol Central coach Nate Jandreau in dealing with Woznicki. “Every single time the ball goes up, you have to compete otherwise, he’s going to make you pay for it.”

Woznicki scored 21 goals over the first half of the season—with his first 10 tallies literally accounting for all of Eastern’s offense, leading to a 3-0-1 to start the season for the Lancers.

He then notched another 18 goals after the 4-1 win over Avon on October 11.

“He was able to score in a variety of ways,” said Ray. “He would score off a set play with his teammates and he would then turnaround and if we pressured the ball, he was able to score. He was also able to adjust the way he scored based on who we played and what we had to do that game. He wasn’t an individual out there but any means. Obviously, he had his teammates around him but his will and the way he was able to bend his game to our game plan and then turnaround and make himself so multi-faceted is unbelievable.”

He had four matches of three goals, two more with four, and he tied the school record for goals scored in a game with five in the Lancers’ 5-1 victory over Windsor on September 17.

And when Woznicki tied the school record for goals in a season with 25 in Sweet’s 400th win at Hartford Public on October 15 (Woznicki scored four goals in that game by the way), he still had six regular season matches, plus the state tournament, to continue his scoring exploits.

Stonehill is an excellent fit for Woznicki and its men’s soccer program is part of the Northeast-10. The NCAA Division II program had a tough campaign, going 4-12-1 overall, scoring nearly 1.3 goals-per-game. Perhaps a little infusion of Woznicki is exactly what the program needs come 2020.

“You can see guys who can score in different ways and eventually teams are going to take that away but with him, you really can’t take that away when you can score in a variety of ways, “said Ray. “He was able to work on that himself and the will, that’s just him. Him turning around and being able to score on a counter-attack and then on the field when guys are marking him and then score on a set play, it just shows you how special he really was.”