Published on October 19th, 2023 | by Staples Soccer0
Match Report: Staples vs. St. Joseph
Staples is the top-rated “LL” (extra large) team in the state. They’re second — by a point — to Greenwich in the FCIAC. (The league uses a different method to compute points.) The Wreckers have lost just once all year, and tied 3 times.
St. Joseph is winless. With 10 losses and 2 ties (against Norwalk and Westhill), they’re dead last in the 16-team FCIAC.
But when you’re #1 (or #2), you’ve got a target on your back. Every team is out to get you.
Even those that haven’t won a game all year. A victory at home against Staples would make the Cadets’ season.
At halftime, they thought they could do it. After falling behind 2-0 in the 37th minute, the hosts scored 20 seconds later. A penalty kick 28 seconds before halftime drew them level.
There’s a reason the Wreckers are at the top of the heap. They tallied 3 minutes after intermission, then tacked on 2 more to pull away with a 5-2 win.
St. Joseph stood tall in defeat. They played well, they played hard, they never surrendered, and they scored as many goals as any team has against Staples all year.
With a few starters resting due to nagging injuries, head coach Russell Oost-Lievense turned to his very talented bench. Junior Christian Rinaldi made his first start in goal; Eli Rosenkranz, Chase Watkins, Alex Kuster and sophomore Brendan Allen got starting nods.
The Westporters were easily in charge in the early going. It took the Cadets 6 minutes to cross midfield.
In the 17th minute, Zach Beeby’s cross was parried away by the keeper. Allen picked up the loose ball, and finished authoritatively from directly in front.
The blue-and-whites figured they had this one in the bag. They knocked the ball around with little urgency; their runs were perfunctory. Even the usually energetic bench was quiet.
Still, in the 37th minute Sam Rossini nutmegged a defender, dribbled forward and found Avery Mueller. The co-captain’s shot glanced off the keeper, then off the far post before settling in the back of the net.
Half a minute later though, that lead was halved on a breakaway by Lucas Auten.
Then, moments before halftime, Joseph Iazzetti’s well-struck PK made for a dramatic story line.
Oost-Lievense let his players figure things out for much of halftime, then made his displeasure known.
It did not take long for the league leaders to right the ship.
Rossini headed Rosenkranz’s corner high in the air. It fell at Mueller’s feet. He bulldozed his way forward, then scored from close range.
Back on top, Staples’ play became much crisper and sharper. They found feet; they moved cleverly and well.
In the 54th minute Mueller leaped high, to head Emmett Nivaud’s corner kick down and in.
Mueller got his fourth goal — and equaled the Wreckers’ single game record, shared by many players — in the 64th minute, on a solo effort.
Staples’ final regular season match is Tuesday, at Westhill (4 p.m.). The FCIAC tournament begins Friday, October 27. The Wreckers — who will finish either first or second — are guaranteed a quarterfinal home match. FINAL SCORE: Staples 5, St. Joseph 2. SEASON RECORD: 11-1-3.
Brendan Allen scored the first goal against St. Joseph. He is congratulated by (from left) Cormac Mulvey, Adam Syah and Chase Watkins.
Avery Mueller scores the first of his 4 goals at St. Joseph. (Photos/Mark Sikorski)