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Published on September 25th, 2017 | by Staples Soccer


Match Report: Staples vs. Greenwich

Going into today’s match — under a blazing sun, with a large Loeffler Field crowd — Staples’ seniors had never beaten Greenwich.

The Cards topped them as freshmen. They won JV matches, and varsity games. Last year the teams battled to a scoreless draw in the regular season; then Greenwich eked out a still-controversial 2-1 victory in the FCIAC quarterfinals.

Coming off Saturday’s 3-0 loss at Central — as poor a performance as the Wreckers have shown in years — it looked like the visitors’ streak would hold.

Of course, the score at kickoff was 0-0. That’s why they play the game.

As soon as that kickoff was taken, the Wreckers played with passion and power. They pressured the Card defenders. They got numbers behind the ball. They battled for every 50-50 ball, on the ground and in the air. And they communicated constantly.

Greenwich — as always — proved a formidable foe. Keeper Ry Cohen contributed 2 good saves in the 13th minute. His confidence in the box spurred his team on.

In the 19th minute, co-captain Matt Engler lined up a free kick. The ball rebounded out, 20 yards. Vaughan Sealey pounced. The junior never hesitated, rocketing a shot into the back of the net.

The celebration was joyful. It was Staples’ 1st goal in 3 games.

But 60 minutes remained.

Anton Mahr and Patricio Perez Elorza pushed into the box, making things happen. They got plenty of support from Engler, Timmy Liles and Will Birch, who covered broad swaths of territory and battled hard.

Ryan Ficher won most headers. Nick Ambrose and Callum Wisher defended fiercely, backed by the always-tough co-captain Chris Martenson.

But Greenwich was equal to the task. It was a back-and-forth half, with little separating the squads.

A 33rd-minute scrum produced a Staples shot off the crossbar, the most threatening foray since Sealey’s strike.

At halftime, the Wreckers talked about continuing to press, defend and battle for every ball. They came out hard — but so did Greenwich. Cohen saved well 2 minutes after intermission.

Engler launched another free kick that hit the post.

In the 55th minute Cohen made an excellent save in traffic. He was knocked to the ground, but held on strongly.

Sam Liles, Azam Plummer, Tadeo Messsenger and Steven Frost came on well as substitutes. Gabe Baltierra filled in defensively solidly. Play flowed up and down the field.

Cohen saved again in the 71st minute, punching away a corner kick. A minute later Liles saved another corner off the line.

Greenwich’s final shot came with 20 seconds to go. Cohen saved easily.

The Wreckers had withstood a strong test — and come out on top. They played 80 minutes of good, tough Staples soccer.

For the seniors especially, it was a win worth waiting for — and savoring.

But Staples can’t rest on this one.

And they’re not. They’re already preparing for the next big match: Wednesday at home — against unbeaten Norwalk. FINAL SCORE: Staples 1, Greenwich 0. SEASON RECORD: 3-2-2.

QUICK KICKS: The match began at 4:30 p.m. — half an hour later than usual — because of Greenwich’s late school start time…

Dave Harrison — former Staples timer, social studies teacher and father of Justin Harrison ’91, a star sweeper — and his wife Marianne (former Staples phys ed teacher and tennis coach) were at the match, visiting from their home in Vermont. Also on the hill: former Staples head coach Jeff Lea and his wife Kathy, plus longtime fans former Staples English teacher Gerry Kuroghlian and former physics teacher Stan Rhodes. Also in attendance: Chris Meinke, 2003 captain ….

The reserves lost 2-0 to Greenwich….

The freshmen suffered their 1st loss of the year, 4-0 at Greenwich.

Will Birch and Timmy Liles double-team Greenwich’s Adam Juszczyk. (Photo/Alan Frost)

Matt Engler prepares for a free kick. (Photo/Alan Frost)

Two Greenwich Cardinals can’t stop Vaughan Sealey. (Photo/Alan Frost)

The Wreckers, after beating Greenwich 1-0. (Photo/Alan Frost)

5 former Staples teachers were among the crowd at the Greenwich match (from left): Marianne Harrison, Kathy Lea, former Staples soccer coach Jeff Lea, former soccer timer Dave Harrison (with Marianne, father of Justin ’91), and Gerry Kuroghlian.

Nick Hein defends for the reserves against Greenwich. (Photo/Armelle Daniels)

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