Published on October 24th, 2015 | by Staples Soccer0
Staples vs. Stamford — Match Report
The Wreckers’ mission was simple: “If you win, you’re in.”
After a strong start to the regular season, followed by a mid-season 0-3-2 dip, they needed 3 points from their final 2 matches to qualify for the FCIAC tournament. Standing in their way were Stamford and Danbury.
It was no easy task. The Black Knights — whom Staples had not played since 2010, due to the imbalanced FCIAC schedule (changed this year, with the departure of Bassick and Harding from the league) — are a very solid team, with talented athletes and an experienced coach. Danbury — the Wreckers’ foes this coming Monday night, away — boasts the best record in the league.
Buoyed by a strong performance against Trinity Catholic 2 days ago, the hosts came out firing. They pressured hard up top, and within the 1st 10 minutes — playing with a very strong wind at their backs — had legitimate chances from Spencer Daniels, Daniel Perez Elorza and Daniel Brill. In the 12th minute, Daniel Reid’s corner kick was saved well.
The visitors threatened too. In the 19th minute Jack Zeldes was perfectly position to save off the line.
At the other end, the Westporters’ bugaboo — great balls that drop or skitter across the goalmouth, with no one there to finish — continued. One particularly solid chance came off Matteo Broccolo’s long throw.
But Broccolo started Staples’ 1st goal. In the 26th minute he put on a nifty move, then executed a quick 1-2 with Perez Elorza. The senior striker — playing the best soccer of his career — drilled a cross, which Daniels flicked on. Josh Berman — the center back — was there to ram it home.
The blue-and-whites continued their barrage. A shot slammed off the post; then Graham Gudis — who covered tremendous territory on the left side — rocketed a ball off the crossbar.
The Wreckers’ pressure paid off 3 minutes before halftime. Daniels pestered the Stamford backs, won a ball, then calmly fed his strike partner Perez Elorza. He showed equal poise, giving Staples a much-needed 2nd score.
The Knights came right back. Just seconds before intermission, keeper Brenden Price — in his 1st-ever start — made a spectacular reaction save to keep the clean sheet. A 2-1 halftime score could have changed the match dramatically.
The start of the 2nd half was delayed 30 minutes, due to a medical emergency involving a Staples student who had been shooting on goal while the teams talked behind their benches. The event could have thrown the Wreckers off their game. But they stayed together, kept their focus, and poured on the solid play.
In the 50th minute Aidan Wisher sent Perez Elorza into the corner. He sliced a ball across the goalmouth, where Daniels used his head — not usually his forte — to put his side up 3-0.
Still Staples kept coming. Zeldes made a dynamic run out of the back, and almost scored. Tyler Wright came off the bench to add speed and grit (and a couple of dangerous shots).
With most players — including defenders Kenji Goto, Josh Berman and Teddy Lawrence — resting, others like Grant Sirlin took over, with no letup. Five minutes from time Sam Kantor found Andres Marmelo. The senior midfielder roofed a shot, for his 2nd goal in as many games.
“This was truly a team effort,” said head coach Dan Woog. “Every player took our 4 core principles — tenacious defense, always thinking offense, seamless communication, outworking the other team — to heart. The focus was fantastic, and the result showed.”
Woog added, “We always knew we could do something like this. We just haven’t done it for 80 minutes so far.” He called the match “a good starting point” for the post-season, but noted, “that’s only if there is no letup. Today is over. It does nothing for us unless we build on it and get even better going forward. Danbury will be a huge test, and then it’s one-and-done from there on in.”
And, he noted, “this is the best time of year. It’s Wrecker time. I really believe the best is yet to come.” FINAL SCORE: Staples 4, Stamford 0. SEASON RECORD: 8-3-4.
QUICK KICKS: The win vaults the Wreckers into 6th place in the FCIAC. But — depending on the final day of the season — they could finish anywhere from 5th to 8th. The 8-team league playoffs begin Thursday, at the home of the higher-ranked team….
Senior Day activities yesterday honored 10 Wreckers: Daniel Brill, Kenji Goto, Graham Gudis, Andres Marmelo, Daniel Perez Elorza, Brenden Price, Noah Schwaeber, Grant Sirlin, Aidan Wisher and Jack Zeldes….
The reserves dropped a 2-1 decision to Stamford. Kason Kreis scored for Staples….
The freshmen downed Stamford 5-0. Azam Plummer fired from outside to score in the first 30 seconds. Ollie Lindenbaum and Brad Cox each hit lasers into the corners, while Jared Wainshal and Will Foisie also scored. Nick Ambrose played inspired ball at midfield.