Trivia Contest


Trivia question #21: What is the most number of consecutive times that Staples games have ended with the exact same score? What was the score, and when did it happen?

Antonio Pastor ’84 nailed this one: 3 consecutive games ended in the same score — and it’s happened 5 times. In 1971, there were 3 straight 2-0 wins (all, interestingly, in the state tournament); in 1973, 3 consecutive 1-1 draws (the first 3 matches of the regular season!); in 1985, 3 straight games were 0-0 ties; in 1997, the Wreckers scored 3 consecutive 2-1 wins, and in 1998 they registered 3 1-0 wins in a row.

Trivia question #20: When was the first time a Staples soccer team came from two goals down to win a state tournament match?

The correct answer came from someone who was there: Ray Flanigan ’69. It was his team, in the state tournament semifinal against Newington. “We were down 1 early, the first time we were down even a goal all year if I remember correctly. A few minutes later Jon Hand ’69 was tripped and broke his arm. Before the ambulance left the field Newington scored again. We came back to score 2 in the 2nd quarter (we played quarters back then!). Newington scored in the 3rd quarter, and we finally got the equalizer with a few minutes to go. We played OTs, and eventually went to PKs. (Coach) Albie (Loeffler) inserted Scott Williamson ’70 into the goal to replace Jon Demeter ’69 after Newington and Staples traded PKs. Scott made the save and we converted all ours, to win. Don’t know if anyone else ever came back from 2 down, but it was as crazy a game as was ever played.”

To answer Ray’s query: The only other time it happened was last fall, when the 2003 team roared back from a 2-goal deficit against Westhill in the final 18 minutes of the first-round match to tie, 2-2. The game went to overtime, then penalty kicks — just as in 1968. Once again the Wreckers prevailed (though this time without changing keepers).

Trivia question #19: In the 45-year history of Staples soccer, how many matches have the Wreckers forfeited? Bonus question: Why?

This is the first question that received no correct responses. The answer is: 2. They came in 1975, when Staples inadvertently used an academically ineligible player in the opening matches of the year. Hapless Rippowam had fallen 8-0 and the Wreckers had downed Norwalk 4-0, but coach Albie Loeffler turned his squad in as soon as he discovered the error. He took “full responsibility for the administrative oversight” that allowed 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 would undoubtedly end their 14-year division championship reign — and with it a berth in the FCIAC finals — but the blue-and-whites battled back from last place. They finished 1st and made the FCIAC title game, where they topped Stamford in the Black Knights’ first-ever championship appearance.

Trivia question #18: The Staples soccer program began in 1958. When was the first losing season ever? (This includes all levels: varsity, junior varsity, intermediate and freshman.)

Igor Pikayzen ’05 knew that it was the 1995 junior varsity squad, with a 4-7 mark. The good news is that it took 37 years, at 4 levels (the intermediates were a junior-only team in the 1960s and ’70s), for the blue-and-whites to sink below .500.

Trivia question #17: Who is the only player registered on this website’s alumni list who never attended Staples High School? Bonus: Why is he on the list? Jon Walker ’88 was first: Amos Magee ’88. At Wesleyan University, Amos fell under the influence of Peter “Ox” Doolittle ’88 and Ty Jagerson ’88; that year’s Cardinals team was one of the best in the history of Division III soccer. Amos’s St. Paul (MN) squad won the U-19 McGuire Cup national championship; he went on to play 8 pro seasons with the A-League Minnesota Thunder (he is their all-time scoring leader, with 63 goals and 37 assists), and 1 season with the MLS Tampa Bay Mutiny. Jon adds: “Amos is on the alumni list because he has shown more interest in Staples and Westport soccer than any other individual who isn’t an alumnus, teacher or parent.” For several years, Amos was a stalwart at summer short-goal games at Staples.

Also answering correctly were Rich Horosky ’84 (“Amos is also on the Westport FC reserve squad, though he lives in St. Paul”), Mark Noonan ’83 (“Amos is a FOX — Friend of Ox”) and Jeff Lea. For more on Amos (including the worst photo in the history of head shots), click here.

Trivia question #16: Who was the first Westport player to be on an OFFICIAL US youth team that competed overseas? Bonus: Who was the second? This might have been too easy: Rob Hagebak ’82, went to France in 1980 with the U-16 national team. Hagebak, Dan Donovan ’82 and Chris Kranick ’82 all attended first-round tryouts at Southern Connecticut State University; when Hagebak got the call a few days later it was not to attend a regional tryout, but to pack his bags for France. He played left back in there — a new position for him — and represented Westport well. The second player, Mike Clifford ’85, traveled to Russia with the U-18s. Three people nailed both the trivia question and bonus: Dan Donovan ’82, Jon Walker ’88 and Jeff Lea.

Trivia question #15: What were the highest- and lowest-scoring teams in Staples history? Interestingly, the two teams were just five years apart. The 1992 squad racked up a phenomenal 93 goals; the ’97 Wreckers, meanwhile, managed just 17. Only 1 person got both teams right: Jeff Lea.

Trivia question #14: As a physical education instructor at Staples, Albie Loeffler had 2 student teachers who went on achieve great success in soccer. Jim Kuhlmann, recently inducted into the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame, was one. Who was the other?

Only one person knew that Bob Dikranian — legendary, longtime coach at Southern Connecticut State University — immediately preceded Jim Kuhlmann as Albie Loeffler’s student teacher. And, like Loeffler and Kuhlmann, Dikranian is a member of the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame. The winner: Jeff Lea, Loeffler’s successor and Kuhlmann’s good friend.

Trivia question #13: At least 8 Wreckers have scored both the first and last goal of a Staples season. Name as many as you can.

Jon Walker ’88 replied: “Jem Sollinger ’88 opened the 1987 season with a penalty kick against Norwalk (5-0 win). He also scored both goals in our first round LL state tournament game, also against Norwalk (2-0 win). In our next game, the round of 16, we were shut out by Cheshire 1-0.” That makes Jem the only Wrecker not only to score the first and last goal of a season, but to do so against the same team.

Jem also replied, listing Mike Clifford ’85 (in ’84) and Matt Evans ’90 (in ’89). It took a bit of prodding before he named himself. The other Wreckers, whom no one identified, include Dennis Murphy ’73 (in ’72 — his final goal, the only 1 in a 1-0 game, came in the first 30 seconds of the state final against Conard-West Hartford); Phil Moen ’76 (in ’75); Nick Trebat ’95 (in ’94), Kyle Martino ’99 (in ’98) and Trevor Lamb ’04 (in ’02, making him the only junior to accomplish the feat.)

Trivia question #12: Staples soccer players have roots in all 6 inhabited continents (no one has yet hailed from Antarctica). Name at least one varsity player who was born in, grew up in, or has parents from each of the following continents: Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and South America.

Answer: A tough question indeed. The closest correct response comes from Art Cockerham, volunteer assistant coach: Wayne Tentler ’04 (South Africa), Dan Cummings ’97 (Australia), Christian Hektoen ’03, transferred (Norway), Jason Alvarez ’03 (Colombia). The best Art could do for Asia was Tip Vilay, junior varsity coach (Laos). Alex Deegan ’91 managed to come up with Mark Franks ’91, transferred (Germany, England, Australia) and himself (born in Okinawa, Japan). One other two-fer comes to mind: Rick Jakobson ’80 (South Africa, Sweden).

Trivia question #11: What college soccer program has had the most number of former Staples soccer players involved in it? Bonus question: Name as many of those players as you can.

Answer: This proved to be the most popular Trivia Contest ever. And the winner is…Wesleyan University, with an astonishing 20 Staples alumni playing at least one season for the Cards. They are, in chronological order: Bill Needham, Brian McCoy, Chris Keneally, Paul Baumann, Steve Levin, Rich Mervine, Andy Simon, Rich Brodsky, Seth Sholes, John Nathan, Marc Sholes, Rob Wilder, Tim Nicholson, Will Boudreau, Peter Doolittle, Ty Jagerson, Steve Uydess, Rai Cockfield, Eric Steffen and Bobby Guadagno. Interestingly, the list spans the very first Staples team (Needham) all the way to the current Wesleyan squad (Guadagno). Several on the list served as Card captains. Also of note: Staples head coach Jeff Lea is a Wesleyan alumnus, while current Wes coach Geoff Wheeler now plays on the Westport FC Over-30 squad. Quite a connection! Winners of the trivia contest, (none of whom listed all the players) are: Jim Bacharach ’72, Dave Wilson ’75, John Nathan ’80, Dan Donovan ’81 and Jem Sollinger ’88.

In second place is Union College, with 11 former Stapleites as Dutchmen: Chris Swan, Mark Brickley, Sandy Wilder, Neil Brickley, Olaf Neilsen, Jim Bacharach, Jim Simon, Jim Manning, Jem Sollinger, Guy Claveloux and Mike Carey. Other schools boasting at least half a dozen Staples alumni include Brown University, Lehigh University, Middlebury College, Ohio Wesleyan University and the University of Connecticut.

Trivia question #10: What was the last thing Coach Albie Loeffler traditionally said before sending his players onto the field for a game?

Answer: Jason Aster ’02 called this question unfair to post-Loeffler-era players (and it was, but hey, that’s life). However, three alums remembered the legendary words: “Let’s go to work” (or the alternative: “Let’s go to work, men”).

And all three had comments about it. Ken Murphy ’76 said: “I use it myself when coaching, because that’s what it’s all about.” Jim Bacharach ’72 noted: “It was pure Albie — simple, purposeful, and it assumed we were mature.” Ray Flanigan ’69 added: “I’ll never forget going into senior year, we used to have spring practice before the CIAC made it illegal. I had trained all winter indoors, and every day during study hall that spring on the kickboard with John Brannan. Finally I was confident I would start as a senior. Joker that I was, when Albie gathered us in the huddle before a spring scrimmage I deadpanned, ‘Let’s go to work.’ Albie was somewhat shocked but grinned slightly, shook his head, and gave me a look I’ll always treasure. Could a kid ever have more fun?”

Trivia question #9: Name at least one set of brothers who played together at both Staples High School and the same college. Extra credit: Name at least one set of brothers who played at Staples and the same college, but NOT at the same time.

Answer: This was difficult, perhaps because the question was poorly worded. Ray Flanigan ’69 mentioned Jeff and Jon Hand (SHS ’67 and ’69 respectively), who also played together at West Chester State College (Jon, nicknamed “Baby” because he was Jeff’s younger brother, was one of the first sophomores to start at Staples). The Murphy clan caused a great deal of confusion, but both Dave Wilson ’76 and Stuart McCarthy ’79 correctly noted that Ed Murphy and Ken Murphy (SHS ’74 and ’76 respectively) were University of Connecticut teammates as well. Wilson got the extra credit question right too: Tim and Paul Hunter (SHS ’71 and ’73 respectively) never played together at Staples, but did at UConn. Also nailing extra credit was Dan Donovan ’82; both he and his brother Doug (SHS ’79) were teammates only at Lehigh University.

Trivia question #8: Everyone knows Albie Loeffler taught physical education (and served as an administrator) at Staples High School. But what subject did he teach at Farmington High School (1941-42) and Ellsworth Memorial-South Windsor (1942-52), prior to coming to Staples? Hint: It is the same subject he taught at Greens Farms Academy, after retiring from Staples in 1978.

Answer: Only one person came up with the right answer — and he is not even a Staples soccer alumnus. Jason Aster, a senior forward on the 2001 team, conducted copious research (he dug out a copy of Goals and Glory in the Staples library), and discovered that Mr. Loeffler was a social studies and history teacher before and after his career in the Staples High School physical education department. Congratulations, Jason!

Trivia question #7: Name at least three Staples soccer players who appeared in at least one movie.

Answer: Many people knew the most obvious answer: “Manny’s Orphans,” the greatest soccer movie ever made. Released in 1978, it included soon-to-be Wreckers Marlon Acuna, Mike Brown, Guy Claveloux, Jayson Cook, Philip Dalmage, Bandy Mahr, Mike Moses, Mark Noonan, Micu Oprea, Richard Ross and Rob Wilder, plus graduates Peter Tomich (in the role of “Shane Kennedy”) and, as the long-haired referee, Dan Woog. The movie (still available on videotape) was filmed in Westport and Bridgeport, and also featured Cosmos star Werner Roth and Malachy McCourt (Frank’s brother). Director Sean Cunningham, a Westport native, went on to direct “Friday the 13th” and “Spring Break”; writer Steve Miner moved on to the TV series “The Wonder Years.” Among the film buffs who answered the trivia question: Dan Donovan, Peter Doolittle, Stuart McCarthy, John Nathan, Graham Stumpf and Jon Walker. But let us not forget John Nathan ’80 himself, who had a legitimate film career in “The Rock,” “The Wedding Banquet” and “The Search For One-Eyed Jimmy.” And, looking ahead, there is future Staples star Michael McCarthy (Stuart’s son), who has already appeared in “The Boiler Room.”

Trivia question #6: Which current FCIAC rival has the worst all-time record against Staples?

Answer: There are a slew of contenders for this dubious honor. Four teams have never recorded even a single win against the Wreckers. St. Joseph is 0-6-0; Bassick is 0-7-0; Central is 0-9-1, while Stamford/Trinity Catholic (same school, different names, same futility) is 0-21-0. Three teams have each won only once: Harding (1-8-1); this year’s FCIAC champ and class LL finalist Westhill (1-27-2), and — perhaps most remarkably, because the rivalry dates back to 1958 — New Canaan (1-44-10). How you define “worst all-time record” is up to you; it is a tribute to the Staples soccer program that you have so many choices.

Winners: Five people contributed to this sleuthing operation: Jon Walker ’88, Jem Sollinger ’88, Jason Aster ’02, volunteer assistant coach Art Cockerham, and head coach Jeff Lea.

Trivia question #5: Which player played 44 games over three years of varsity soccer, never lost a match — and won three state championships?

Answer: It’s Jim Manning ’74. In 1971, he was the fourth and final sophomore to join the varsity. The game before — the FCIAC championship — the Wreckers lost 2-1 to Stamford. They did not taste defeat again until the first game of 1974, 1-0 to Nyack, N.Y. — three months after Jim graduated. In Jim’s junior year Staples went 18-0-1; as a senior the Wreckers had a bizarre 13-0-6 mark. But the 13th victory came in the state finals, against Manchester — and the winning goal in that 1-0 match was a diving header from (of course) Jim Manning.

Winner: The only winner of this trivia question is, believe it or not, a current Staples player: Jason Aster ’02. He got the answer with only a few clues from the Staples coaching staff; all the research was his own. Congratulations, Jason!

Trivia question #4: Name at least two Staples soccer alumni who have made their marks as professional musicians.

Answer: The only “winner” was Rob Wilder ’84, who named Dan Pifer ’86, a noted guitarist with several New York bands, and Cary Pierce ’87, one-half of Texas-based Jackopierce. Other possibilities included Jon Hand ’69, whose Pennsylvania ska band, Notchoma, played at Westport’s Toquet Hall the evening before the Albie Loeffler Field dedication in 1998; two members of the Class of ’91, Nick Johnson and Todd Thedinga (Dinger), and Vermont-based bluegrass guitarist Brian Burns ’93.

Winner: Rob Wilder ’84.

Trivia question #3: Who was the first Staples soccer player to earn All-America honors in college?

Answer: John Marks ’64 earned All-America honors in the fall of 1967, at Middlebury College.

Winner: The only correct answer was submitted by Chip Young ’68, who in 1971 became Staples’ second college All-American (Brown University). Chip notes that he is probably also the first male All-American in any sport to wear a ponytail.

Trivia question #2: Who is the most recent Staples alumnus to play on an NCAA national championship soccer team?

Answer: Nick Trebat ’95 was a freshman starter in 1995, the year Williams College won the NCAA Division III national championship.

Winners: Mike Brown ’83, Alex Deegan ’91, Justin Harrison ’91, Mike Carey ’01.

Trivia question #1: Who was the only Staples High School soccer coach to win two Staples soccer state championships 20 years apart?

Answer: Frank Henrick. He did it in 1969 with the Staples boys, during his one-year stint as head coach while Albie Loeffler was on sabbatical leave. He did it again in 1989, while coaching the Staples girls team.

Winners: Fred Cantor ’71, Mike Brown ’83.