While defense has been a mainstay of the Joel Barlow High boys soccer team this season it was time for its offense to shine in the second round of the state Class M tournament on Monday.
The second-seeded Falcons, who received a bye in the first round, started the tournament in strong fashion against 18th-seeded Darien. Most of the scoring came in the second half as the Falcons won 5-0.
The scoring started in the first as Christian Miljkovic assisted Dante Spinelli to make it 1-0. Then, with 15:25 left in the first half, Spinelli scored again.
“It looked to me that Darien was shell shocked when the goals started coming the way they did,” said Barlow head coach Paul Winstanley.
There were some near-misses by the Falcons after Spinelli’s second goal but they did not score again until the second half.
“We weren’t happy at half time up 2-0,” said Winstanley. “We really weren’t happy in any particular phase of the game. We really stepped it up in the second half, especially in terms of our work off the ball in terms of our defense phase and offensive phase, and we got three goals in the second half, and it could have been substantially more.”
Barlow scored twice within a 29-second span to make it 4-0. The first goal came when Miljkovic assisted Finn Cohane with 31:38 left in the half. Will Bracken then scored the 2,000th goal in Joel Barlow history to make it 4-0 with 31:09 remaining in the game.
Bracken would score again off a Tim Eng assist with 22:56 remaining.
Winstanley gave all the credit to the team for its hard work and for not giving up even when things were not going well, this was alluding to the difference between the halves of the game and the overall performance of the team.
“Each level we go further it gets more and more competitive, so we need to be sharper right from the beginning,” said Winstanley. “We need to sharpen up, work harder defensively off the ball and we should be good.”
Should Barlow defeat seventh-ranked Daniel Hand in the quarterfinals it will face the winner of the Berlin-Avon game in the semifinals on either Friday or Saturday at a site and time to be determined.