STRATFORD–Bunnell boys soccer coach Joe Baccielo knew his team missed multiple chances in Tuesday night’s 1-1 tie with league foe New Milford.
“It feels like we certainly could’ve and should’ve won the match with how many really good opportunities we squandered, but that’s the game sometimes, so we’ll take 1-1,” the coach said.
Bunnell jumped out to an early lead thanks to Derick Celestin’s goal in the 13th minute. It was the senior’s first goal of the season and one of many scoring chances for the Bulldogs.
New Milford tied the game 20 minutes later when junior Dereck Angulo rocketed a top-shelf shot into the right corner of the net.
Bunnell netminder Owen Jaekle could only watch as Angulo’s perfectly placed shot found nylon.
There would be zero goals scored the rest of the way, but chances were aplenty.
It looked like Bunnell was going to take the lead halfway through the second half after being awarded a free-kick at the top of the box on New Milford’s end.
Justin Ogazi fed a nice pass to Jojo Lumasag who had a clear shot at the net, but his shot sailed high.
With just under five minutes left in the game, New Milford had a corner kick sent perfectly into the middle of the box, but the Bunnell defense stymied it.
Both teams had multiple chances to take the lead, but neither could capitalize on the opportunities they were given.
It was a defensive battle and Bunnell knew New Milford was going to give it everything they had.
“You’re not always going to score three, four, five goals,” Baccielo said, “so we’ll get back at it tomorrow in training and try to refine the little details in the attacking third and hopefully on Thursday against Pomperaug, we’re able to put a couple more in the back of the net.”
Neither team wanted to lose their undefeated status under the lights Tuesday.
New Milford coach Lou Pereira knew it would be a physical contest and he praised Bunnell for their effort.
“Great players, hard workers, disciplined,” he said. “It was a fun game—a really fun game. I think we had a lot of opportunities that we blew in the second half. I think we’re going to see (Bunnell) again in the playoffs.”
Lumasag and Ogazi gave the Bulldogs quality minutes over the entire game.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Bulldogs the rest of the week.
Their next game is Thursday at Pomperaug against the Panthers who were recently ranked in the top 10 of Class LL/L.
New Milford also faces a challenge on Thursday when they travel to defending-league champion Weston.
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