By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – With another boys city series soccer game between Bristol Central and Bristol Eastern seemingly headed for overtime, the Lancers went for broke.
Down by a goal with just 11 minutes to play, Eastern tied the match via a Jake Woznicki score and then with 1:12 left, Ben Chiasson found Connor Errato for the go-ahead goal as the Lancers came away with a huge 4-3 win from the turf field at Bristol Central on Monday, Oct. 29.
“We’re thrilled,” said Eastern coach Bill Sweet. “We worked really hard. That’s the way we work. We just work, work, work [and] don’t give up.”
The win moved Eastern to 8-5-3 overall – breaking a five match winless streak – while Central fell to 6-6-4.
The contest featured three ties and one lead change – the final one on the Errato goal – as Central led three times in the event before giving it up late.
“I thought that was a game of swings,” said Central coach Nate Jandreau. “In the first half, I thought [Eastern] had the better of the play and it showed. In the second half, I thought we played our hearts out, played really well.”
Central generated two quick corner kicks to open the game and when the second attempt saw the cross sail out of bounds, the Rams proved to be the early aggressor.
Lancers’ keeper Nate DiLoreto wasn’t afraid to leave the box and the Eastern offense attempted to get to work.
Central made several attacks of the Eastern goal, possessing the ball as it did the last time the teams squared off with Central’s Adam Jones, Yanni Koci, Sebbi Garay-Ortega and Ellis Camelich, and David Bowes being ultra aggressive.
“Yanni Koci played unbelievable tonight playing the game in the middle for us,” said Jandreau. “I thought him and Sebbi in the middle, along with Ellis, were phenomenal.”
And the first goal was quickly tallied at the 6:33 mark of the first when Jones, attacking from the right side, found Sebby Garay-Ortega charging to the net – kicking the ball straight in for a score and a 1-0 push for Central.
“It’s his first career goal,” said Jandreau of Garay-Ortega.
Another quick Central set-up was snuffed out by DiLoreto but those Central forwards got off quick on the attack.
The Rams’ defense did an excellent job containing Eastern’s Jake Woznicki early, marking the talented goal scorer from the start.
Camelich made a quick steal and took a stab at the Eastern net with 30:10 left before the half but missed to the left of the goal.
And then, in a collision one minute later, Woznicki and keeper Danny Gaudoin bumped into one another but the ball continued to roll towards the goal.
However, Central’s Andrew Oren kicked the ball out at the last second – saving a possible goal and keeping it a 1-0 contest in the Rams’ favor.
And Central was close to scoring again with 25:11 left in the first off another corner kick but the Eastern defense answered the challenge.
Eastern’s Martin Wuestoff infused some energy into the match for the Lancers but the Central offensive onslaught continued with DiLoreto making a save with 23:03 before the half.
And then it was DiLoreto’s turn to take a shot on goal via a free kick from midfield that Gaudoin snared away and saved at 22:08 of the first period.
“Danny is tough,” said Jandreau of his keeper. “He’s gotten knocked around a couple times this year and he definitely made a couple saves today especially on one of those throughout balls when he came flying out. He definitely kept us in it, that’s for sure.”
It was still 1-0 at the halfway mark of the first half as Central’s Carson Rivoira – with at least one Bristol Eastern sibling cheering for him that night – canned a field goal over the Eastern net but did not score.
Chiasson was hustling all over the field while Woznicki flipped in a ball to Errato but couldn’t not control it with less than 18:00 left in the first.
“I thought the whole game, he was excellent,” said Sweet of Chiasson. “He was unbelievable. He really worked hard…I’m thrilled with him. And it was senior night and he worked really hard and played well.”
Gabe Soucy then found Woznicki heading to the net but that Central defense was up to the task as enforcer Hunter Peterson made the stop as the clock ticked to less than 15 minutes.
The play, however, had evened out with Eastern taking a corner kick with 13:31 left in the first period but could not produce a goal scoring drive.
A minute later, the Lancers had another corner kick to play out but the set up was too deep for Woznicki to flip in.
But as the ball came out of the box, Eastern’s Elijah Parent zipped a deep ball to Woznicki, hanging on the left side of the Central goal, and the senior booted it in for a score and with 11:01 left before intermission, it was a 1-1 contest.
Parent did a nice job in the midfield on right side, getting his feet on the ball and frustrating Central offenders all evening long.
With five minutes left before the half, Gabe Soucy showed some grit, stealing the ball away from the Central offense.
And then Chiasson took his turn at the Central net but he smashed the ball over the goal before a penalty was called on Eastern.
On the opposite side of the field, Bowes was fouled inside the Eastern box, prompting a penalty shot.
But DiLoreto flipped the penalty shot up and out of the box – refusing to allow the Rams a one-goal lead before the half.
And at intermission, it was a 1-1 contest and anyone’s game.
Eastern targeted Woznicki quickly off the second half horn as the squad was looking to break the stalemate.
Bowes made a steal two minutes into the half but the Eastern keeper met the offender, blocked the ball but eventually, the senior jammed one in.
From right to left, Bowes saw the ball come his way and when he kicked it past DiLoreto, it was a 2-1 game in Central’s favor.
Central was once again showing possession, getting the ball out to the shooters and keeping Eastern’s offense at bay with crisp and precise passing.
And then Chiasson looked to have a real chance to score inside the box with 33:15 left but he got bumped as his attempt went wide, and a corner kick was issued.
Nothing came of it as the 2-1 contest continued with Central still in charge.
And then on a free kick, set up via a Jared Greger foul 25 yards out, it was scoring time again,
Eastern set up the kick but instead of Woznicki taking the shot, it was prepped for Dante Castantiello.
He blasted the ball into the net, with it slipping into the right side of the goal, and it quickly was all knotted up at 2-2 with 23:03 left in regulation.
And then on almost the same side of the field, Central earned a free kick of its own.
And it was goal time.
For the Rams, Oren smoked it in – right above the outstretched arms of DiLoreto – as Central retook the edge at 3-2 with 21:53 to play.
“It went 3-2 in the second half and I did think that we made a few adjustments on the field,” said Jandreau. “I thought that we were going to be able to hold true [but] we gave up the penalty kick and they break free on a little mishap there.”
Later on, Chiasson maybe made his play of the year as his header found a wide open Woznick with 16:36 remaining but his shot bounced off the left goal post and out.
On the other end, Central’s Diego Naranjo almost got a perfect ball from Justin Fetzer with 13:30 left but the Eastern keeper bulled his way to the ball to smoke out the play.
“We probably could have had a couple [goals] there,” said Jandreau. “But [Eastern] was able to buckle down and we just didn’t have the ball bounce our way. That’s what happens. You’ve got to be able to respond.”
With 10:57 showing on the clock, Central was called for a foul within its own goal box and a penalty kick ensued.
And it was all Woznicki this time around as he lifted the ball to the right and outside and when it land in the net cleanly, it was a 3-3 contest and, just like the girls showdown between the schools earlier in the day, the match was for the taking.
There was plenty of physical back and forth play between the squads as regulation was running out but with 3:53 on the clock, Naranjo’s free kick careened off the left pole of the Eastern goal as the 3-3 contest continued.
“Diego hit the post and Jake of course hit the post here,” said Sweet. “So we had two posts, we had two penalty kicks.”
And it continued to go back and fourth from there and finally, with 1:12 left, Errato nabbed the go-ahead goal.
The ball entered the Central side of the field and Chiasson advanced it to Errato.
He beat everyone the goal and simply flashed the ball into the net as the Lancers led 4-3 and the tally proved to be the game winner.
“Connor, the senior gets the goal,” said Sweet. “And you know, he made angled runs and I’ve seen him make angled runs when he played earlier. I told him he has to make some more of those. And he cut in and right there for Ben to play it to him.”
Central had late chances in the end but as the final horn sounded, Eastern was going to the pay window via the one goal win over the Rams.
“These games, they’re never what you think they are,” said Jandreau. “And you have to play all the way to the end.”
“I was just hoping we would withstand their possession and they’d get a little tired possessing it,” said Sweet. “[But] it’s a thrill [winning it].”
NOTES…It was senior night as Eastern players Patrick Brady, Christopher Bravo Chavez, Ben Chiasson, Connor Errato, Jared Greger, Konrad Olekszyk, Roger Jimenez-Pulla, Gabriel Soucy were honored. Central seniors who played in their final match were Richard Carmelich,
Kenni Cantarero, Adam Chawner, Jacob Drewniak, Jason Fetzer, Justin Fetzer, Sebastian Garay-Ortega, Brandon Holland, Yanni Koci, Lucas Lefeld, James Nedorostek, and Hunter Peterson.