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Published on October 6th, 2022 | by Staples Soccer


Match Report: Wreckers Stand Tall Against Trumbull

Before the season — and through the first couple of games — Staples fans wondered: What was the character of the 2022 team?

The answer is now clear: They’ve got plenty of it.

The Wreckers showed poise, passion, pride — and plenty of skill — in last Friday’s stunning, come-from-behind win over Fairfield Warde.

Today’s scoreline reads Trumbull 4, Staples 1. But the battle against the home side Eagles was nowhere near as one-sided as those numbers.

Last year, the hosts — a recent FCIAC powerhouse — had an uncharacteristic 4-8-4 record. That experience paid off: They entered tonight’s contest 8-0-0. The record includes a 1-0 shutout of Hall-West Hartford, in last month’s FCIAC/CCC Challenge Cup.

Trumbull is led by Owen Bull, a junior scoring at a goal-per-game clip. But they’re hardly a one-man show. His supporting cast plays quickly and confidently, mixing short passes with long direct balls. They have team and individual speed, and use both well.

Though much younger — with 5 seniors, 3 juniors and 3 sophomores starting today — coach Russell Oost-Lievense’s side is also talented. They too are quick, but also deliberate in their possession. They work well as a unit; they support each other verbally and positionally, and — getting back to their character — they never give up.

An 11th-minute foul in the box gave the Eagles an early chance. Bull blasted his shot — but keeper Nick Sikorski read it well, and blocked it.

But the ball caromed back to Bull’s foot. He finished his second chance cleanly, for a 1-0 edge.

Less than 2 minutes later, Bull raced in on a pure breakaway. Sikorski timed his move perfectly, waiting until just the right moment to go down and take the ball of the attacker’s foot. It may well have been the junior’s best save of the year.

The Westporters did not wilt. They snuck through a couple of times, but shot high. Co-captain Alex Laskin — back in action, following a concussion — fired just over the bar, from 25 yards out.

Avery Mueller won several balls with his trademark sly style, then held his own as play got chippy on both sides.

The two teams were finding each other’s feet well. Trumbull had 2 good chances, in the 27th and 28th minutes. Junior Dylan Hoke had his own opportunity at the other end.

In the 32nd minute Bowl picked up a loose ball, and fired. Sikorski extended himself and punched the ball away. But it landed at the feet of Rudy MacDaniel, who doubled the lead to 2-0.

Just 4 seconds before halftime, the Eagles scored again. The goal was a mirror image of the previous one: Sikorski saved Sebastian Mesa’s shot nicely, but Bull nailed the rebound.

Down 3-0, the Wreckers took the match to Trumbull in the second half. Junior Avery Mueller’s 54th-minute free kick from the edge of the box skittered low, through a dozen pairs of legs, and found the back of the net untouched. Staples — remembering last week’s comeback against Warde — was right back in it.

Much of the final 26 minutes belonged to Staples. They swung balls wide, and attacked relentlessly. Ethan Cukier dribbled the defense, but shot wide. Junior Santi Alfageme — halftime substitution in back — initiated several attacks.

Ten minutes from time though — against the run of play — the Eagles got an insurance strike. Stefan Cordas slotted a good ball across, and MacDaniel tallied his 2nd goal of the day.

The Wreckers — who did nearly everything right, against arguably the top team in the state — return to action Monday. They host Stamford at 4 p.m., at Wakeman Field. FINAL SCORE: Trumbull 4, Staples 1. SEASON RECORD: 3-5-1.

QUICK KICKS: Matt Shackelford is one of 12 Staples seniors to be named a National Merit semifinalist. He now competes for a finalist spot, and a scholarship ….

In a battle of alumni in collegiate club soccer, Matthew Genser s Dartmouth squad edged Jack Foster’s University of Vermont team 3-2. Both were teammates on last year’s Staples team ….

The reserves fell 5-1, on Trumbull’s short, muddy pitch. The Eagles snagged a quick 2-0 lead. Staples dominated then into the second half, but struggled to finish. Andrew Oppenheimer’s penalty kick averted the shutout, while Trumbull continued to find the net ….

The freshmen dominated Trumbull, 8-0. Goals came from Michael Scotto and Karsten Langone (2 each), Finnbarr Mulcahy, Josh Whittaker, Owen Goldfarb and Zach Gillman. Last week the frosh won their second straight 5-3 match, this one against Fairfield Warde. Mulcahy, Whittaker, Brendan Allen, Owen Potack and Dylan Shackelford all scored.

Nick Sikorski dives, stealing the ball from Trumbull attacker Owen Bull. (Photo/Mark Sikorski)


Ethan Cukier roars upfield. Photo/Mark Sikorski)


Sophomore Zach Beebr has stepped up defensively. Photo/Mark Sikorski)



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