Huskies Split Two as Team Solidifies
Senior captain Sean Cafferty and the Morgan boys’ soccer team picked up a split last week and moved to 1-2 on the season. Cafferty scored a hat trick in the Huskies’ win over Hale-Ray on Oct. 6. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Senior captain Max Skidmore and the Huskies are playing tough as they round into form three games into the 2020 season. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
The Morgan boys’ soccer squad is beginning to see its campaign come into shape after playing its first three games. In two of those games, Morgan played what are likely to be the top two teams in the Shoreline Conference this season. After earning a split last week, the Huskies have a record of 1-2 on the season, and Head Coach Ross Demay’s squad has taken some positive steps in the right direction.
After taking a 3-1 road loss against a tough Old Lyme team to open the season on Oct. 1, Coach Demay made some adjustments that resulted in better outcomes this past week. The Huskies picked up a 3-0 home victory over Hale-Ray on Oct. 6, and then lost a close 2-1 road game against another strong Shoreline rival in Valley Regional on Oct. 8. Coach Demay thought that his squad had the effort it needed, but there were some challenges stacked against the Huskies.
“We had a new set up. I was trying the team with a new formation. I was a little ambitious, and it didn’t work. That loss is completely on me,” said Coach Demay. “The kids put in a good effort, but defensively, we couldn’t click enough in transition for it to be successful. With COVID and the lack of practices and scrimmages that we could be together and work on our tactics really bit us.”
Morgan rebounded in its second game with the win against Hale-Ray. The Huskies earned their first win of the campaign with senior captain Sean Cafferty picking up a hat trick in the process. Cafferty scored in the 40th minute off an assist by sophomore Jake Mastriano. In the second half, Cafferty earned a penalty kick which he finished, his third goal came on a ball from senior Evan Baptista to seal the game 3-0. Coach Demay was encouraged by the progress he saw from the Huskies.
“While it was a step in the right direction as far as outcome, we still have a lot to work on after the Hale-Ray game. We switched our formation, and it definitely worked better, but with a couple injuries in our first game and still trying to find a good rotation, we still have a ways to go,” said Demay. “I was not satisfied with how we played, and when we watch the game back, I know the players won’t be either. Our goal is to be better, and we will continue to get better. We usually start the season with four scrimmages for a reason. By game four, I expect to be back to a better form.”
The Huskies’ third game came against a strong Valley Regional squad. The Warriors opened up the scoring with a goal from their offensive star Jake Burdick in the second minute. Nine minutes later, sophomore Sebastian Kadlof took on defender and drew a foul to set up a free kick for Cafferty. Cafferty’s kick went top bins clearing the wall and the keeper. Valley scored the winning goal in the second half. Demay thought Morgan showed a lot more fire after they scored, and even dominated for stretches of the game.
“I was happy with this game. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the result that we would have liked, but we showed a huge step forward. We made two critical mistakes that changed the outcome of the game. Valley will likely be the top team in the league, and to have them on their heels for parts of the game was good to watch,” said Demay. “The battle between Sean Cafferty and Jake Burdick was pure entertainment. I haven’t seen such class and respect between two players on the pitch in a long time and maybe ever on the high school level.”
Morgan has its captains Cafferty, senior Max Skidmore, senior Sebastian Salgar, and junior Tyler Mucha leading the way. Other younger players have been making an impact as well like Kadlof and Baptista.
“Evan Baptista’s really stepped up this year. He went from a JV player his last three years to varsity. He’s put in a lot of work. He’s our first off the bench, and he’s leading the team in assists. He seems to be the person that’s making the right choices on the ball,” said Demay. “Tyler Mucha’s been stepping up in the backfield, and Kadlof stepped up huge against Valley. If he keeps progressing the way he is, he could be All-Conference this year, if they do those.”
The Huskies are still working themselves into shape, but they are close to where they would be in a normal season at this point. Coach Demay thinks one of the biggest factors in some of the team’s missteps has been losing out on preseason scrimmages, but he believes his squad is coming into form.
“Practice-wise it’s going well. You can definitely tell that the players weren’t as conditioned as prior years, and that’s partially because of COVID. They are starting to get into better shape now. The lack of scrimmages is really what killed us so far,” said Demay. “We have eight games left. It’s starting to shape up pretty well. Some of it’s getting in better shape, and for some people it’s decision-making. The big thing is just becoming a team. There’s a lot of new blood. We have to be able to learn the system and make sure there are people pushing each other in a positive light.”