Published on September 10th, 2021 | by Staples Soccer1
Match Report: Staples vs. Ridgefield
A steady rain yesterday made the site of today’s season opener against Ridgefield iffy. The Wreckers put $20,000 into Loeffler Field in the off-season. They did not want to ruin that work on Day One. They debated a switch to the Wakeman Field turf.
But the sun shined all day today. The grass dried out. And a crowd of several hundred packed The Hill, to watch the 2021 squad debut. It was the first of the decade with many spectators; last year, due to COVID, fans were severely limited.
They’d heard that the team was senior-laden, fun to watch, defensively solid and with balanced scoring.
With a stiff wind behind them, Staples almost scored the quickest season-opening goal ever, but a shot off Reese Watkins’ feed in the first 20 seconds flew high.
Within 4 minutes though, it was 1-0. Jaden Mueller won a ball 30 yards out, and found Murilo Moreno. The tri-captain banged his shot in, off the far post. That set off a wild celebration — proving that the ’21 Wreckers have passion and pride too.
Three minutes later it was 2-0. Jack Foster’s long free kick clanged off the crossbar. Watkins was there, to head it home.
The back 4 of Foster, tri-captains Bruno Guiduli and Jackson Hochhauser, and junior Hunter Smith were tested on balls over the top. They cleared several out of danger. But keeper Jacob Greenberger — starting his first varsity match — was forced into a big save in the 26th minute. He came through, big time.
In the 34th minute Aidan Mermagen and Moreno worked the ball to Marius Ekeberg. He laid off to Dylan Hoke, whose 25-yard blast soared past keeper Jackson Ragland’s fingertips.
The wind died down a bit after intermission. Caleb Tobias nearly send Ryan Thomas through in the 60th minute. Five minutes later, Greenberger made another huge save on a breakaway. From then on — with several Wrecker substitutions, the blue-and-whites were in command. Thomas assisted on junior Matt Shackelford’s clinically finished goal in the 75th minute.
Ten seconds before time, Thomas got his 2nd assist, on Mueller’s goal. Staples did not score the quickest goal in an opening match, but this may have been the latest strike since Gordon Hull won the 1978 state championship with a goal just 11 seconds from the end of the final overtime.
“Despite the final score, it was very ragged at times,” says head coach Dan Woog. “We have a lot to work on. But we fulfilled our goals — getting 3 points for the win, and keeping a clean sheet — so we’ll build from here.”
The Wreckers are in action next on Tuesday, at New Canaan’s Dunning Field. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. FINAL SCORE: Staples 5, Ridgefield 0. SEASON RECORD: 1-0-0.
QUICK KICKS: The starting lineup included Greenberger in goal; defenders Guiduli, Hochhauser, Foster and Smith; midfielders Tobias, Ekeberg and Mueller, and attackers Moreno, Watkins and Will Adams ….
The Wreckers unveiled their new “locker room” — the converted equipment shed — before the match. Many players helped build it, with great assistance from former freshman coach Chris O’Dell. Hochhauser led the project. To access the locker room more easily, the Wreckers have shifted their home bench to the south side of the field…..
Reserves coach Chris Flaherty announced Kyle Ambrose, Lucas Carpi and Chase Watkins as tri-captains. Zac Belzer and Sebastian Cruz will lead coach Elisee Joseph’s freshman squad.