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Published on September 30th, 2022 | by Staples Soccer


[UPDATE] Match Report: Staples’ Stunning Comeback Shocks Warde

Last year, Staples’ 2-1, come-from-behind win at Fairfield Warde was impressive, and important.

This year’s 3-2, come-from-way-behind victory against the Mustangs was spectacular — and even more important.

Down 2-0, the Wreckers tallied 3 times in the final 12 minutes. The goals — following 5 scoreless halves, an injury to starter Cole Lieberman, and against an undefeated (4-0-3) squad — rocketed the spirits of a very young Staples team that has seen its share of adversity.

It also rocketed head coach Russell Oost-Lievense’s side to a 3-4-1 record. They are now very much back in the FCIAC and state playoff battles.

The Wreckers attacked in the first 40 minutes with purpose and pace. With Avery Mueller and Dylan Hoke ranging wide, and utilizing teammates around them well, the hosts looked sharp.

Ben Douglas was a stalwart in back. He and fellow defenders Hunter Smith, Campbell Gerrard and sophomore Zach Beebe used junior keeper Nick Sikorski often, then patiently worked the ball upfield.

Lieberman suffered a cut above the eye midway through the half. He left to get stitches. Sophomore Zach Gorin stepped in nicely.

Two shots flew high. “It’s coming!” Oost-Lievense promised.

Staples had 2 chances late in the half. Mueller was taken down at the top of the penalty arc. The free kick was deflected out, for a corner kick. Moments later, another free kick from the edge of the box came close.

But it was Warde’s game right after halftime. Their first goal came 2 minutes after play resumed; their second, 10 minutes later. Both resulted from quick, well-taken drives into the box

Though they were chasing the game, Staples never gave up. Playing smart, controlled soccer, they took the game right to the visitors. Mueller’s tough-angle shot was saved one-handed, and well.

Minutes later, Mueller turned the corner and delivered a sizzling ball. That shot was high too.

Sophomore Luca Escalarte nearly connected from close range.

Then, at last, a push in the box on Santi Alfageme off a corner kick earned the Wreckers a 68th minute penalty kick. Junior Dylan Hoke rifled it home.

A few minutes later, junior Avery Mueller drove into the penalty box. He’d bedeviled his man-marker all match long. This time, he was taken down — and drew another PK.

Hoke stepped up again. He once again nailed it decisively.

Now the blue-and-whites were on the attack; Warde was on its heels.

Ethan Cukier swung the ball over to Chase Watkins. The junior sent a seeing-eye cross to Mueller. He snuck through a crowd of defenders, and — sliding feet-first — finished cleanly. Just 4:30 remained on the clock.

With Hoke and Hunter Smith taking charge, the Wreckers managed the game to the end. As they’d been all match long, they were poised, smart and confident.

Their next match is no easier. Again they’ll face an unbeaten team: 8-0-0 Trumbull. But the stunning victory — both well-earned, and hard-earned — gives Staples a much-need boost.

They also have some time off. That match is not until Thursday (5:30 p.m., away).

It’s the start of the second half of the regular season. Buckle up! FINAL SCORE: Staples 3, Fairfield Warde 2. SEASON RECORD: 3-4-1. 

QUICK KICKS: The reserves edged Fairfield Warde 1-0, on Jonny Costello’s goal. Staples had several other good chances, in the physical battle. Luca Caniato, Eli Rosenkrantz, Oliver Oren and James Corridon dominated at midfield….

Yesterday, they defeated Darien 2-0. In a strong second half Sam Rossoni fed Costello, who finished inside the box. Then Costello’s corner kick was volleyed in well by Andrew Oppenheimer, from the edge of the 6. Staples continued to generate chances, through the end of the match.

This foul on Santi Alfageme …


… led to Dylan Hoke’s first penalty kick….


… and Avery Mueller’s game-winning goal 8 minutes later …


… led to this celebration. (All photos/Mark Sikorski)



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