The Conard boys soccer team lost a close game to Glastonbury on Thursday afternoon at McKee Stadium in West Hartford.
By Ronni Newton
The Conard boys soccer team has a new name and a new coach, but the start of the season didn’t go as planned with the Red Wolves falling to Glastonbury 1-0 Thursday afternoon at home in West Hartford.
Glastonbury is always a really good team, said Conard head coach Becca Lewis, a history teacher at the school who herself made history when she was named the first female head coach of the boys soccer program this year.
“You’ve got to give them their due,” Lewis said of the Guardians. “They came out with a great game plan, but I don’t think that we played our best game today. We left a lot on the field and there’s plenty to improve upon. I’m glad we get a chance to see them again.”
The game was a scoreless tie at the half, and Conard was dominating the play after the break but was unable to deliver. The score remained 0-0 until, with 22:28 left in the second half, Glastonbury senior Ben Pavano got one past Conard goalie Elijah Clymer.
The Conard boys have always struggled against Glastonbury. Lewis said she has a lot of respect for their fantastic program, for their history. Glastonbury is a perennial contender for the state championship, which the program won in 2018, 2017, 2015, 2014, and 2013 under prior coach Mark Landers, now the Gladiators girls coach.
But Lewis has faith in her team.
“I know we’re very much capable of beating Glastonbury,” she said. “I think that if we play the way we know how I think this could have been a very different result. … I also believe that we have the skill needed to compete with any team in the state.”
Conard has a lot of talent, Lewis said. Tony Catanzaro, who will play at UMass Amherst next year is definitely a top player, she said, and Sami Dridi, Chris Roberts, and Diwash Pun are among those who can score. “It’s just about getting them going and getting them working together and on the same page.”
Conard will travel to Avon on Tuesday for a 5 p.m. start before returning home to host New Britain on Friday, Sept. 16 at 3:30 p.m. The rematch with the Guardians is on Sept. 29, at 4:30 p.m. in Glastonbury.
Lewis said she’s really happy with the way the team has responded to her as a new coach. “They’ve working hard. They’ve put in a few good weeks of work and we just need to keep getting better every day.”
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