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Published on October 12th, 2013 | by Staples Soccer


Staples vs. Greenwich — Game Report

Today’s matchup at Cardinal Stadium promised to be a good one. Greenwich was soaring: 10-0-1, with a big, physical 29-player lineup that included 22 seniors.

Staples — 8-1-2 — was the #2 team in the FCIAC. They start 5 seniors, 3 juniors and 3 sophomores, but have been steadily improving after an early-season loss and tie.

The Cards’ biggest crowd of the year was on hand. They saw a 1st half in which the home side had a slight territorial advantage, and an edge in shots. But the Wrecker defense of Andrew Puchala, George Kokkalis, James Lewis and Kenji Goto never broke. They stepped up nicely, headed and cleared intelligently, and kept the Cards outside the 18. Keeper Noah Schwaeber was called on once in the half, and came through strongly.

At the other end, the home side defense was just as solid. The Wreckers had difficulty penetrating. The 0-0 halftime score looked like it might stand for the final 40 minutes too.

But just 6 minutes after intermission, Staples struck. A Yousef Shahin-to-Joe Pravder combination softened up the backs. Jack Scott — the aggressive forward — drew a foul, 35 yards out on the left side. Diego Alanis laced a long free kick goalward. Puchala — parked in front of keeper Santiago Irigoyen — got there first. He headed home, a split second before the keeper could grab it.

It was a stunning goal. But Greenwich came right back with a stunner of their own by Jonathan Palmer, 2 minutes later. It was a very physical play, with both Alanis and Schwaeber knocked to the ground.

Schwaeber left the match, with a concussion. Brenden Price — like Schwaeber, a sophomore, who had seen action in only 2 previous matches — came on, cold.

For the next 14 minutes, play was even — and hot. The Wreckers surged forward; the Cards counterattacked. Staples nearly made it 2-1, with a free kick from just outside the 18. But the keeper made a superb save, and the score remained knotted.

But not for long. Alanis cleared spectacularly off the line, but Ryan Flippin drilled in the rebound.

Three minutes later, in the 67th minute, Patrick Santini (son of former Westport Soccer Association player Mike Santini) made it 3-1, off another scrum. The final goal, with 6 minutes remaining, came off a defensive error.

The defeat — the 1st in 9 games — stung. But the Wreckers took a few positives from the match. They worked the ball well in the 2nd half against a strong, physical and very tough opponent. They fought tenaciously to the end. And they discovered a solid keeper in Price.

“I am extremely proud of our guys,” head coach Dan Woog said. “We’ve had unbelievable adversity this year — more injuries than I’ve ever seen in my entire career, and plenty of other obstacles. But our guys never get down. They bounce back up, and are ready to train and play the next day. They are very, very coachable. Now we get ready for Darien on Tuesday.  The post-season is coming soon, and we can’t wait.” FINAL SCORE: Greenwich 4, Staples 1. SEASON RECORD: 8-2-2.

QUICK KICKS: Greenwich led in shots 11-7. Staples had 3 corner kicks, to the Cards’ 2….

The junior varsity scored early — Daniel Brill off a long throw from Ethan Kobak — but then surrendered a late goal of a mis-cleared corner kick to tie Greenwich 1-1. Aida Wisher had a great match at sweeper. Andrew Osorio shined in goal. Grant Sirlin was outstanding on the left side. Ben Foster played very well in the middle of midfield with Jack Zeldes. Freshmen Spencer Daniels, Sam Kantor and Jerrett Rende were called up to the injury-riddled JVs….

The freshmen shut out Greenwich 3-0. Spencer Daniels redirected in a Daniel Reid shot; Luca Cocito rebounded in a blast by Sam Kantor, and Josh Berman headed in Reid’s long ball. Coach Chris O’Dell’s side got excellent defense from Berman, Jerrett Rende, Teddy Lawrence and Daniel Jersey.

Kenji Goto breaks out of the back. Yousef Shahin (11) and Patrick Beusse support. (Photo/Kim Lake)

Michael Reid switches fields. Joe Pravder either calls for the ball, or signals “Touchdown!” (Photo/Kim Lake)

James Lewis heads out of danger. Kenji Goto, Andrew Puchala and Diego Alanis (10) are ready to help. (Photo/Kim Lake)


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