NEWINGTON - A hat trick from junior Trevor Rau led the Plainville boys soccer team its eighth win of the season, besting Newington 4-2 after 80 minutes.
The Blue Devils scored all four of their goals in the first half and Rau completed his trifecta of goals after 18 minutes of play as they took advantage of repeated defensive lapses from the Nor’easters. Newington left Plainville’s players ample space near the goal and the Blue Devils made sure to convert the nearby chances.
The win improves Plainville’s record to 8-6-1 this season while the Nor’easters lose their spot in the top-10 of Class LL with their record falling to 8-3-2.
“I think we got off on the right foot,” Plainville coach Devin Pugliese said. “Defensively, we held in, we took away some of their opportunities on the wings and going up the middle of the field. Their midfield has some ability so we clogged the lanes for them and didn’t let them get anything easy to start.”
Rau had the Blue Devils leading by two goals in less than seven minutes, finding the holes in the Nor’easters’ back line and finishing a pair of open shots. Newington left too much open space in its box and Rau was the recipient of large targets from short range.
“I saw they didn’t really guard me out wide and there was an open lane,” Rau said. “The opportunities came and I finished them to put our team ahead. It gave us the confidence to seal off the win. We gave up two, but we scored four so it doesn’t matter.”
Rau ensured Plainville continued to lead by at least two goals even after Newington scored an early goal, completing his hat trick with a well-placed shot that sailed into the net where the Nor’easters’ goalkeeper could not reach. Rau netted the three goals and gave his team a 3-1 lead with 18 minutes gone in the first half.
“He’s special,” Pugliese said of Rau. “When he’s on, I think he’s up there in the top of any class with players in this state.”
The Blue Devils continued scoring before halftime and Rau remained a contributor as he found sophomore Chase Gray wide open in the middle of the box and Gray put a shot into the back of a gaping goal.
“We weren’t stepping to our marks and we weren’t communicating on defense and I think that hurt us in the beginning,” Newington coach Jeff Brunetti said.
Senior Manassah Dalomba kept the score close for Newington in the 12th-minute of the match, making the score 2-1 shortly before Rau answered with his third goal.
The Nor’easters improved their play on both ends after halftime, but failed to complete the uphill battle of eliminating a three-goal deficit. They succeeded in finishing the second half without conceding another goal, but only took one back when Jason Welch converted a rebound from in front of the goal with 10 minutes left in the game.
Newington nearly scored earlier in the half off of a corner kick, but Plainville junior Kyle Kumitis aided his goalkeeper and saved the shot with his head.
“We went to an attacking formation where we tried to put an extra guy higher up the field,” Brunetti said. “We have to try to create opportunities and play a little better. We were running away and hiding a little bit on the field today.”
The Nor’easters will travel to Avon on Saturday for their second-to-last game of the season while the Blue Devils will close out their 2021 campaign at home against Berlin on Nov. 2.
“[This win] shows you can hang with anybody,” Pugliese said. “Everything you work for is validated and we know that we are a top-tier club. If we can bring it all together on any given day, I don't think there’s anyone we can’t beat.”
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEWINGTON 2, PLAINVILLE 4
Plainville 4 0 - 4
Newington 1 1 - 2
Goals: Trevor Rau (P) 3, Menassah Dalomba (N), Chase Gray (P), Jason Welch (N).
Assists: Trevor Rau (P)
Records: Newington 8-3-2, Plainville 8-6-1.