1971-75

1971: THE JUNIORS COME THROUGH

• Teams are running in 2-year cycles. Seniors graduate; juniors take their place, then terrorize the state as seniors. This year, however, more seniors have gone than ever. Only one returnee has real varsity experience: Jim Baumann.

Regular season

• On Saturday morning, Sept. 18, however, this inexperienced squad does something the legendary ’70 team could not. They beat Nyack – in fact, shut them out. And they do it without captain Baumann, sidelined with a sprained ankle. Paul Hunter, following in his brother Tim’s bootsteps, nets the game’s only goal 8 minutes into the second quarter, assisted byDennis Murphy. Fullback Dana Stefenson’s game-saving clear late in the match is the other big play.

• Darien masses 11 players in front of the goal, hoping for a scoreless tie. The Blue Wave do not shoot once, but Jan Leth does. His 30-yard line drive direct kick keys Staples’ 1-0 victory. Three more shutouts lead up to an amazing 15-0 win over Ridgefield. Steve Moen and Jeff Plunkett notch hat tricks, as the Wreckers more than double their previous goal total of 14 (the Tigers are in their first year of FCIAC competiton). The shot statistics are equally one-sided: 45-0.

• New Canaan finally blemishes Staples’ record with a 0-0 tie. Then comes a key Saturday morning encounter in Wilton, against the 7-0 Warriors (also in their first year of FCIAC play, having moved from the Western Connecticut Conference). With 2 undefeated teams, something must give – in this case, the Wreckers’ phenomenal streak of 25 consecutive shutouts. Wilton is the first team to score on Staples in over 12 months, when 20 seconds before halftime Jeff Hargadon’s direct kick skims off a defender’s head and into the net.

• The Wreckers stumble again in their next outing, the final regular season game; Stamford stuns them 2-1. The new keeper is Staples’ fifth of the year, Shane Kennedy, recruited out of phys. ed. class by coach Albie Loeffler. Despite his inauspicious start, Kennedy goes on to set a national record for shutouts at Babson College, and is drafted by the New York Cosmos.)

FCIAC championship

• The Wreckers gain revenge against a Wilton team making quite an impression in their inaugural FCIAC season, winning 1-0 at Wright Tech in Stamford. Jim Simon’s second half corner kick curls into the net untouched.

State tournament

• Kennedy finds his groove in the nets. His saves and outlets sparkle in the first round home game against Hall-West Hartford. Jeff Williamson and Dana Hollingsworth score in the 2-0 win.

• 2-0 is also the score in the quarterfinals, against Rockville at Quinnipiac College. Late in the third quarter Leth’s long direct kick hits the crossbar, then bounces down and in. Hollingsworth’s insurance goal is a hard shot with backspin.

• It’s 2-0 again in the semifinals, this time over Newington at the University of New Haven. Hollingsworth feeds Baumann for a low, hard shot; then Hunter squibs the ball out of a crowd, and Hollingsworth fakes the keeper and scores.

• The final is a storybook rematch against defending co-champion Conard-West Hartford, 14-1 and the top seed (Staples is sixth). Like last year, the game is at Wesleyan University. Just as it seems the two powerhouses are headed for another 0-0 draw – with just 4 minutes to play – Williamson’s hard shot caroms off a defender and skids over the goal line. The new state champions are junior-dominated, which does not bode well for the rest of Connecticut next year.

Quick kicks

• Seniors Leth and Simon receive All-FCIAC first team honors, as do juniors Hollingsworth, Williamson, Hunter and George Barrett.
• Loeffler is named Connecticut High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year. Eighty of his former players have gone on to play college soccer, including such current stars as Chris Keneally, Paul Baumann and Steve Levin (Wesleyan), Steve McCoy (Duke), Jon Hand (West Chester State), Steve Baumann (Pennsylvania) and Olaf Neilsen (Union).
• Other team members include Jim Bacharach, Derek Berlew, Rich Brodsky, Peter Dickstein, Stu Gagneux, Jay Gibeault, B. Green, Joe Hynes, Jeff Kelter, Victor King, Dave Levin, Jim Manning, Ed Murphy, John Rendleman, Gary Smith, Brad Turner and Doug Taggart.
• Bacharach misses several matches with phlebitis, contracted from a kick in a summer league game.

RECORD: 13-2-1
CAPTAIN: Jim Baumann
COACH: Albie Loeffler



1972: THE DYNASTY GROWS

Regular season

• For the second straight year, the Wreckers start the season without the services of a captain. This time it is George Barrett. He misses the entire season with a slipped disc, suffered during basketball season. The team opens at Nyack’s hard, bumpy field with a grueling 1-1 tie. Dennis Murphy scores, assisted by Jeff Williamson. Incredibly, it is only the second time in history that the Wreckers do not begin the season with a win. The other was the very first year, when they lost to Andrew Warde.

• FCIAC play starts with a 7-2 pummeling of Norwalk; twice, believe it or not, the Wreckers play catch-up. Balanced scoring by Dana Hollingsworth, Stu Gagneux, Paul Hunter and Williamson key 5-0 wins over Darien and first-place Roger Ludlowe. Greenwich comes to town on Saturday, Sept. 30 for a lighted game on the football field, prior to a gridiron game. Brian O’Connell starts in place of the injured Hollingsworth. He scores 2 goals and assists twice in the 6-1 victory.

• Missing 4 starters, the Wreckers nonetheless rip Ridgefield 11-0. Weaver – a Jamaican-based Hartford team – gives Staples its stiffest test, but O’Connell, Brad Turner and Peter Dickstein score in a 3-0 win. In a rough match that sees the ejection of two Danbury Hatters, Gagneux scores all three goals – all unassisted.

• Murphy’s return to the lineup at the start of the second half against New Canaan marks the first time Staples is at full strength since Nyack. Ten minutes later, however, Hunter’s leg is shattered in four places. He is the team’s leading scorer. Gagneux wins the game with 18 minutes to go on a penalty kick, but gloom prevails.

• The Wreckers look shaky against undefeated Brien McMahon – now in the same Western Division as Staples – and keeper Rich Mills loses his bid for his sixth straight shutout early. But Hollingsworth tucks in Murphy’s rebound to equalize. In the second half the two combine in the opposite order to secure a 2-1 victory. Williamson ties the single game scoring record, accounting for all 4 goals in a shutout over Rippowam.

FCIAC championship

• The title match, postponed by rain, is switched from Stamford’s Cubeta Stadium to Staples on Friday afternoon, Nov. 3. A large crowd sees the hosts stymie New Canaan 1-0, in a close, windy affair. The goal comes when Williamson serves a soft free kick from the right. Fellow captain Hollingsworth – no giant — heads the ball over keeper Dave Flaschen. The defense of Paul Herrault, Victor King, Mark Goldrosen and Peter Dickstein is, as usual, flawless.

State tournament

• The Weaver Beavers are not the pushovers of a month earlier. This time it takes 4 overtimes for the first-ranked Wreckers to prevail. In fact, the upstaters take the lead with just 8 minutes remaining. But 2 minutes later Gagneux lofts a free kick that Hollingsworth – still no giant – heads past the keeper’s outstretched hands. That sends the match into 2 5-minute overtime sessions, and 2 8-minute sudden deaths. They end when Hollingsworth sends a beautiful feed to Murphy, who rifles his biggest goal ever into the far corner.

• The quarterfinal, against Hamden at the Yale University varsity field, also goes to overtime. Once again it reaches sudden death. This time Murphy assists O’Connell to advance Staples, who outshoot the Green Dragons 19-3.

• Heavy rains twice postpone the semifinal against New Canaan. When it is finally played, it is even closer than the previous two matches. Eighty-six minutes of regulation and overtime produce no goals, so the teams take penalty kicks. All 4 Westport booters who attempt shots – Gagneux, Dickstein, Jim Manning and Williamson – make theirs; by contrast, only Bill Enselin succeeds for the Rams.

• That sets up the third straight Staples-Conard final. The West Hartford school is again powerful: 14-1-1, ranked second. Yet this final, at Choate School in Wallingford, proves different from the first two. Conard controls play for the first few seconds, but the defense clears the ball to Williamson near midfield. He passes to Murphy, who catches up to the ball behind the backs, dribbles inside to the left, then outfoxes the keeper with a low line drive to the far side. Just 30 seconds have elapsed.

• That is it. The Chieftains do not surrender another goal, and the Staples defense is again impenetrable. The defensive gem is halfback Gagneux clearing a Conard shot that has struck the crossbar and dropped directly in front of the goal. Coach Albie Loeffler, who uses only one substitute – sophomore Charlie Perlwitz – says simply, "I think it was one of our better games." For the 18-0-1 Wreckers, it is one of their better seasons. Which is really saying something.

Quick kicks

• Hollingsworth is voted Most Valuable Player in the CIAC Class L tournament. He joins five teammates – Williamson, Herrault, Gagneux, Dickstein and Hunter (honorary) on the 15-person All-FCIAC first team. Murphy is named to the second team, while Turner and Mills earn honorable mention.
• Other team members include Rich Brodsky, Rick Carpenter, Bob Eads, Jay Francis, Dave Levin and Dave Quinn.
• The honored guests at the soccer/cross country banquet in the Staples cafeteria are Dr. James Kaufman and Jim Kuhlmann. Kaufman (Staples ’61) went on to fame as the leading scoring in New England while captain of the Tufts College varsity; he is now head coach and chemistry professor at Clark University. Kuhlmann coaches at Fairfield University, after playing many years of semi-pro soccer. The master of ceremonies is Staples head football coach Paul Lane.

RECORD: 18-0-1
TRI-CAPTAINS: George Barrett, Dana Hollingsworth, Jeff Williamson
COACH: Albie Loeffler



1973: FIVE STRAIGHT STATES!

• For years, coach Albie Loeffler has been accused of crying wolf about the upcoming season. This time, he may be right. After 4 consecutive state titles, even the lowliest team gets sky-high for the Wreckers. More importantly, the top 14 players from the previous year have all graduated. But he and his assistants – former players Ray Flanigan and Chris Keneally – go right to work.

Regular season

• The inexperienced squad opens just as the veterans did last fall: a 1-1 tie against Nyack. Ken Murphy, the lone sophomore starter, scores on a rainy afternoon, equalizing 6 minutes after Medrick Innocent’s header. Staples follows with a 1-1 draw in New Canaan – the first non-victory against a Connecticut team in 2 years – on Jon Gibeault’s strike. Charlie Perlwitz and the Rams’ Tom Hutchinson are ejected late in the match for "excessive physical contact." Brien McMahon provides the third straight 1-1 tie, Jim Manning earning his third assist of the season on Bob Eads’ goal. The 0-0-3 mark is Staples’ "worst" start ever.

• On Tuesday, Sept. 25, they record their first win, on the latest date ever. Goals by Ed Murphy (2), Ken Murphy and Gibeault earn a 4-0 victory over Greenwich. Four days later the Wreckers play their second home game ever under the football field lights (in addition to the gridiron game, there is a cross country race). Gibeault and Matt McGuire pace the 2-1 win over Roger Ludlowe.

• Darien leads the Westporters by 1 point in the FCIAC Eastern Division, and a crowd of 300 turns out for the game in Westport. Fullbacks Dick McCabe, Steve Dickstein, Jay Francis and Ed Murphy hold the league’s leading offense in check, except for Sal Ferraina’s breakaway just 4:20 in. Late in the game the Wreckers still trail, however, so Loeffler moves Ed Murphy up to forward. The transfer from Trinity Pawling School immediately creates two scoring opportunities, then calmly nails a penalty kick for his team’s fourth tie of the fall. Westport News sports editor Mike Krein blasts the team, saying they are trying too hard to act "cool" and not playing as hard as the football and field hockey teams. Harsh words for a team that still has not lost.

• After a 2-0 win over Stamford, it’s back to ties. Number 5 comes at Wilton, as Ed Murphy – back on defense, but up for free kicks – heads Manning’s corner home. Loeffler experiments with alignments, using a 3-3-4, then pulling Murphy back, and the Wreckers respond. They finish with a 5-0 win over Norwalk, and the News’ Will Milberg reports that Loeffler’s three smiles "break his previous record of 2 in 1 half."

FCIAC championship

• McMahon furnishes the opposition for the first time in 5 years – and, of course, the game ends in a 1-1 tie. The Senators own the first half, Staples the second, though both goals come before intermission. Ed Murphy’s 35-yard free kick sails in off the keeper’s hands; Ricky Stevens equalizes off Jordan Ross’s corner. Because of a new FCIAC rule, no overtime periods are played.

State tournament

• Ranked sixth, the Wreckers enter the tournament with Gibeault sidelined by 2 pulled leg muscles. Though the FCIAC has abandoned quarters, they are still used in the state tourney, and sixth-ranked Staples surrenders a first-period goal on a Rockville breakaway. With time running out in period 3 Loeffler sends Gibeault onto the field; midway through the final quarter the move pays off. Manning lofts a long ball; Gibeault outleaps 5 backs, and ties the score. The match grows more physical. Rich Brodsky breaks down the left side and laces a long lead pass to Gibeault, who drills the game-winner nearly through the net.

• The quarterfinal against Bulkeley-Hartford is closer than the 2-0 score indicates. The Wreckers’ first tally comes in the third period, when Perlwitz slots the ball underneath onrushing keeper Dan Gaspar (who later earns international fame as a goalkeeper coach.) Brodsky ensures victory with a late tally. Fullback Dave Wilson earns praise for frustrating one of the state’s leading scorers, John Motta, all morning.

• Staples takes a foul-marred semi from number 4 Prince Tech-Hartford, 1-0. The only goal comes 3:51 into the opening quarter. Manning’s throw-in bounces to the middle of the field, 3 feet beyond the goal. Brodsky, on a scoring roll, thighs the ball in. Wilson shuts down Aldo Signorello, who boasts 62 career high school goals. Staples manages only 6 shots, to Prince Tech’s 3. Loeffler gives the team an uncharacteristic day off, "to get your minds off the game of soccer for a while."

• The finals, against top-rated Manchester, are held at Choate School in Wallingford. With 2 highly regarded, classy coaches, Loeffler and Dick Danielson; 2 defensive-minded squads, and 2 brother acts (the Murphys and the Indians’ Werner and Reiner Cacace), the game shapes up as a classic.

• It is. It takes 84 minutes and 35 seconds – regulation time, plus 24:35 of OT – for a winner to emerge. With the temperature 34 degrees and the wind at their back in the final 10-minute sudden death overtime, the Wreckers pressure keeper George Kanehl mercilessly. He makes several sensational saves, then outlets for a breakaway that is saved only when Francis races back, forcing Werner Cacace to shoot wide.

• Within a minute Francis steals the ball from Cacace and fires upfield to right wing Ken Murphy. He unleashes a long, arcing pass 10 yards from goal. Kanehl moves to the left to cut the angle, but Manning dives in front of 2 defenders, and heads it perfectly into the right side of the net. He is engulfed by players and fans, delirious at the unfathomable fifth straight championship. The Wreckers ride a phenomenal 20-game unbeaten streak in state tournament action, and a 43-game undefeated streak stretching over 3 seasons. What a way to end!

Quick kicks

• Manning’s mother, Jean, films the game. The moment he scores, she runs out of film. She tells the Westport News: "My husband is in India. I don’t care if it is the middle of the night, we’re going to call him anyway." Charlie Perlwitz’s quote: "I can’t believe it! Time for partying!"
• Manning, Perlwitz, Gibeault and Ed Murphy make the All-FCIAC first team. No Wreckers are chosen for the second team; Wilson is honorable mention. Murphy is also named a high school All-American.
• The annual banquet (minus the cross country team) is held at the San Francisco Emporium restaurant in the Westport New Englander Motel. Sandy Wilder, co-captain at Union College and an All-New York player, is toastmaster.

RECORD: 13-0-6
CAPTAIN: Rich Brodsky
COACH: Albie Loeffler



1974: THE STREAK FINALLY ENDS

Regular season

• After hosting a pre-season scrimmage with Brien McMahon, Wethersfield and E.O. Smith-Storrs, and an exhibition match between Hartwick College and Mitchell Junior College, the Wreckers open the season on Friday the 13th at Nyack’s dusty McCorlum Field. Medrick Innocent, the Wreckers’ nemesis for the third year running, rams home a penalty kick. Midway through the third quarter winds gust, thunder roars, lightning strikes and rain pours. The referees call the game – and with it Staples’ remarkable 43-game undefeated streak.

• The Wreckers rebound with a 3-0 win over Norwalk. Minutes after sophomore Phil Moen is welcomed to the FCIAC with a severe body check, he lofts a pass to Ed Acuna, who scores off a header. Mike Roberts and Charlie Perlwitz also tally. Brien McMahon is again a powerhouse, but Perlwitz and Moen connect in the 2-0 win. Keepers Schach Van Steenberg (who leaves the game after being kicked in the nose) and Mitch Heffernan earn the shutout. Greenwich arrives yelling they will hand the Wreckers their first Connecticut loss since 1971, but leave on the short end of a 4-0 score. Ken Murphy, playing with a heavily taped broken nose, tallies against Roger Ludlowe, the same game in which Dave Wilson – hailed as the team’s best throw-in artist since Steve Baumann – sets up 3 scores off throws.

• A rash of injuries and illnesses do not deter Staples. When Ridgefield scores on a penalty kick with no time remaining (making the score 4-1), it is both the first goal scored on Staples in the state all year, and the first goal ever by Ridgefield against them. Murphy shuts down Darien scoring ace Sal Ferraina; then the Wreckers earn a dramatic 1-0 victory over Wilton before a Westport crowd of 1,000. Warrior keeper Mike Blundell makes so many outstanding saves, even the Wrecker fans applaud. Steve Dickstein and Pete Tomich are Staples’ defensive stars, while Murphy’s penalty kick wins it in the waning seconds of the first overtime. Perlwitz leaves in an ambulance, to receive 7 stitches in the head. In the 3-0 shutout of Danbury Murphy, Tomich, Van Steenburg and Dick McCabe all leave with injuries.

County championship

• The Wreckers prevail 2-0 over Greenwich, in front of an overflow crowd at Staples.
Roberts feeds Moen, who threads his way through the defense for goal 1; then Acuna capitalizes on a goalmouth scramble. Perlwitz is chosen Most Valuable Player.

State tournament

• Scrappy Westhill provides first round Class L competition. They are the first team all year to score on Staples from the field (the 3 previous goals were penalty kicks), but despite the loss of Perlwitz – out for the year with knee ligament damage sustained in practice – the Wreckers win. Moen’s header appears ready to trickle in, but Acuna makes certain with a solid kick. The Vikings equalize on an own goal (a mis-header of a ball going out of bounds), but Acuna gets the game-winner unassisted.

• Wilton is the second straight FCIAC foe, in the tense quarterfinals at Quinnipiac College. Blundell again shines in the net; Van Steenberg makes his own brilliant diving save on Gary Ross’ line drive. That is Wilton’s only shot of the day, thanks to stellar defense by Dickstein, McCabe, Tomich and Andy Simon. Just 4 minutes from time McCabe dribbles down the left sideline. His attempted pass is knocked right back to him by a defender, and he waltzes in alone to score.

• A chill wind sweeps over the Choate School field on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Bulkeley-Hartford does something no team has done in 2 years – score twice on Staples – and the Wreckers’ 5-year reign as state champs is over. They come close early, when Moen skims Wilson’s long throw off the crossbar, but 17 seconds into the second half a long lead pass to Bulkeley forward Lucio Zorzi goes wide. A defender pushes the ball back but it is intercepted, and Zorzi pounces on the mistake to score.

• Down 1-0 for only the second time all year, Staples pushes forward. Moen, Acuna, Wilson, Murphy and Ray Forehand all shoot wide by inches; keeper Mike Motta makes a series of dazzling saves. Then, with just 1 man back protecting goal, the Wreckers get burned on a 3-on-1 break in the waning seconds, to lose 2-0. Outshooting Bulkeley 15-6 and completing the season with a stellar 16-2 record is scant consolation for the devastated team. The sobbing players are brightened, however, by the words of a Bulkeley player who says, according to the Westport News: "You cry because you are good. A bad team does not cry; you are a young and beautiful team to watch. Your coach is a fine gentleman, and you will surely win again another time. And because you cry now, you will all be great men someday."

Quick kicks

• Dickstein, Murphy, Perlwitz and Moen make the All-FCIAC first team. Wilson is a second-team pick, while McCabe is honorable mention.
• Guest speaker at the annual banquet, held at Manero’s Steak House, is Doris Lund of Rowayton. She is the author of Eric, a personal account of her son’s battle with leukemia. The classic book chronicles Eric Lund’s soccer career at Brien McMahon and the University of Connecticut. His dying words were: "Have to get back to Westport. Can’t find the way. Please, Mom – help me? Westport?" He was speaking, she writes, of the soccer battles between Staples and McMahon that meant so much to him, and defined his courageous battle to live.
• AFS foreign exchange student Haluk Alacaklioglu makes a brief appearance for the varsity midway through the year.
• Dale Hollingsworth is an All-New England pick and co-captain at Babson College.
• The new Westport Soccer Club’s men’s team features former Staples players Ray Flanigan (player-coach), Dana Stefenson, Jan Leth and Denis Colacicco.

RECORD: 16-2
CO-CAPTAINS: Steve Dickstein, Dave Wilson
COACH: Albie Loeffler



1975: A BATTLE BACK FROM ADVERSITY

• For the first time in the 1970s, the Wreckers do not have the burden of defending a state championship. For a year the returnees have brooded that they were the first Staples squad since 1966 not to have reached the state finals. Following a scrimmage with Darien and a jamboree in Clarkstown, N.Y., the team opens at home against a Nyack side that lacks, for the first time since 1969, Innocents (Frantz and Medrick). For only the second time, the rivalry is decided by more than 1 goal. Kevin Murphy feeds Ed Acuna, whose shot turns into an own goal; Kenny Murphy assists Phil Moen, then Moen returns the favor on Murphy’s indirect kick, for a decisive 3-0 win.

• Hapless Rippowam falls 8-0. When Ray Forehand makes it 3-0 just 8 minutes in, coach Albie Loeffler sends in the subs. The Wreckers down Norwalk 4-0, but their spotless record does not last long; Loeffler tells them he is forfeiting their first 2 league matches. He takes "full responsibility for the administrative oversight" that allows a player with an insufficient number of credits to play, adding "the effect on the boy is far more lasting than what happens to the team the rest of the year."

• One more loss will undoubtedly end their 14-year division championship reign. The battle back from last place begins with a 3-0 victory over New Canaan. It continues with a 2-1 win against feisty Greenwich; they fire 31 shots on keeper Mike Brown. Brien McMahon proves an outstanding foe, and the 0-0 draw is a defensive gem for both sides. Standouts include a fast-improving Andy Simon and keeper Mike Westcott, plus his Senator counterpart Bob Salvato.

• A key victory comes 3-0 over Western Division leader Stamford on the Black Knights’ hilly, rocky field. Dan Kahn and Ken Murphy score, but Moen’s goal is more memorable: It carries the net with it, and smacks against the metal fence behind with a crash. A 2-0 victory against Andrew Warde in the next-to-last game sews up Staples’ 15th straight divisional title. Despite the strong record Loeffler tinkers with the lineup (caused in part by a hip injury to winger Sean Doyle). The coach sacrifices goals for possession and ball control by moving Moen back to halfback; taking the junior’s place up front is Scott Morehouse, a senior transfer from Kent School, who since becoming a starter scores 4 of the team’s 7 goals.

FCIAC championship

• Staples faces Stamford in the Knights’ first-ever title appearance; they edged McMahon for the crown on the final day of the season. The match is played in Westport on a bitterly cold Halloween day. The Wreckers look disorganized early on. In a 2-minute span Westcott snatches a direct kick out of the corner, and John Magruder and Kevin Murphy are forced into defensive saves too.

• Westport News writer Dave Krauss calls Staples’ first goal a "cheapie (out of a) clown show." Ken Murphy delivers a long lead pass to Morehouse, free on the left. The keeper cuts down the angle; Morehouse shoots. The ball deflects off the post and dances along the goal line, as the keeper and 2 defenders lucklessly try to clear. Finally a third back gets a foot on the ball – and caroms it into the net off a teammate’s leg.

• The second goal is better: Moen knocks in Morehouse’s floater from 5 feet out. Moen, named Most Valuable Player of the match, credits his teammates. Center halfback Mike Roberts, for example, plays his best game of the year.

State tournament

• The Staples hill is filled with 500 people for the first tournament game, on Wednesday, Nov. 5 against unheralded, 15th-ranked Rockville (8-4-2). History is made twice: This is the first year with a LL division, for extra-large teams. The second bit of history occurs on the field.

• The wind influences the first half. With it, Staples controls period 1; against it, Kevin Murphy twice breaks up plays involving Rockville’s Bill Zukauskas. In the final 15-minute quarter, with overtime looming, both teams attack. Forehand’s cross is miskicked by Eloy Rodriguez, then missed by Louie Yannotti. Rodriguez’s next shot on goal is headed off the crossbar by a defender-turned-goalie.

• Overtime continues with back-and-forth, nail-biting action. At 3:30 of the first OT Zukauskas laces a perfect free kick from just outside the penalty area into the upper right corner of the net. Loeffler immediately moves Ken Murphy up to the forward line with Forehand, Moen and Morehouse, but the Wreckers fail to fire a good shot for the rest of the game. The Rams clear everything long, and pull off a stunning upset.

• It is Staples’ first home loss since midway through the 1966 regular season – 9 years earlier – when McMahon turned the trick. It is also the Wreckers’ first opening-round CIAC tournament loss since 1960, their very first appearance. And Rockville does it without their captain, standing on the sidelines with his leg in a cast. The Rams’ Zukauskas puts it best: "We were outplayed, but not outscored." It is a bitter ending to a spectacular season that sees Staples battle back from 2 early season forfeits to capture their 15th divisional championship and 11th FCIAC title – and, with very little publicity, tie the 1970 record by surrendering only 2 goals all year.

Quick kicks

• Moen (the third leading scorer in the FCIAC), Simon, and Ken and Kevin Murphy are named to the All-FCIAC first team; Magruder is a second team pick.
• The annual banquet is held at Manero’s Restaurant. Dan Woog serves as master of ceremonies.
• Howard Dickstein has a difficult choice during the season: who to root for when Penn meets Brown. Older son Peter plays for the Quakers; younger son Steve is a Bruin.
• The first Westport U-14 team to affiliate with the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association is organized on Sept. 11, when Dan Woog holds tryouts for fifth, sixth and seventh graders (boys not playing on junior high teams) at the Greens Farms Elementary School field.

RECORD: 12-3-1
CAPTAIN: Kenny Murphy
COACH: Albie Loeffler