Published on October 19th, 2021 | by Staples Soccer0
Match Report: Staples vs. Norwalk
Today’s match held the promise of what high school soccer should be about.
A large crowd — including alumni from as far back as the 1970s, and players and coaches from around the state — packed the Loeffler Field hill on a spectacular fall day. Norwalk (9-1-2) was 1st in the FCIAC; Staples (8-1-3) was just 2 points back. The Wreckers and Bears — neighbors and friends — have had a healthy, respectful rivalry for decades.
Staples is a pressing team. They surged forward from the start. Junior Matt Shackelford — starting only his 3rd game ever — laid an early ball off for Reese Watkins. He’s been on a hot streak; his shot led to a corner kick. Jaden Mueller’s laser corner was directed just over the bar.
Will Adams was working the right sideline in good combination play; Murilo Moreno was doing the same on the left side. Mueller sent Adams through well. It seemed a goal was coming.
The Wreckers’ work up top came from solid midfield play. Dylan Hoke poked and headed countless balls, working in tandem with Moreno and Mueller. Behind them, junior Hunter Smith had his best game in a Staplels jersey, with smart positioning, good runs forward and a dangerous long throw. Bruno Guiduli and Jackson Hochhauser were steady and strong as ever in the middle, while Caleb Tobias shut the right side down decisively.
Hochhauser played a long ball forward to Shackelford. Again, it seemed a goal would come.
In the 32nd minute, it did. Guiduli won a loose ball, and raced down the sideline. He looked up, saw Adams near the goal mouth, and served in. Adams’ never hesitated. His volley ripped into the back of the net. The crowd roared, and the Wreckers raced to the sideline to celebrate.
The second half was more even. The Bears came close in the 56th minute, with a free kick off the crossbar. Keeper Jacob Greenberger had his toughest chance 4 minutes later, off a defensive giveaway, and came up big.
Staples had their chances too, with Ryan Thomas and Matthew Jordan adding sparks as the match wore on. The final 2 minutes saw a pair of Norwalk free kicks, from close range. But the blue-and-whites stood tall. Greenberger and his defense — all 10 field players, when needed — cleared any and all threats with poise and confidence.
“Today showed everything that’s great about high school soccer,” head coach Dan Woog said. “A match that really meant something, between two teams that know how to play and compete; a big crowd, and a fantastic atmosphere. It was what soccer should be: fun.
“But we told our guys afterward that this is just the beginning. There are bigger games ahead. The stakes will get even higher. We’ll have to kick it up several more notches. This is what high school soccer is all about.” FINAL SCORE: Staples 1, Norwalk 0. SEASON RECORD: 9-1-3.
QUICK KICKS: Two more regular season matches remain. Staples plays Brien McMahon on Friday at home (4 p.m.), then finishes at Fairfield Ludlowe on Tuesday (7 p.m.). This Sunday (October 24, 11 a.m.), the Wreckers hold a Senior Day ceremony on The Hill
Among the alumni on The Hill: Fred Cantor ’71, Neil Brickley ’71, Charlie Perlwitz ’75, Dave Wilson ’75, Mike Carey ’01 (with his son and father), and former coach Jeff Lea….
Dan Donovan ’82 handled the livestream, with the well-experienced duo of Robert Brickley and Charlie Scott ….
The reserves fell 2-1 to Norwalk. Luca Escalarte scored, assisted by Chase Watkins. Escalarte and Eli Rosenkranz played well for coach Chris Flaherty’s team.