Published on October 22nd, 2014 | by Staples Soccer0
Staples vs. Harding (Game Report)
Having played 2 matches in the past 2 days — and 3 in the last 4 — the Staples coaching staff took a gamble. With the #7 seed in the FCIAC tournament on the line — #8 would face league leader Fairfield Ludlowe — they rested nearly all their starters.
After a ceremonial 2 minutes at the start of the match by seniors Nate Argosh, Patrick Beusse, Gabe Pensak and Michael Reid, a fresh-look squad went to work. Only keeper Noah Schwaeber, defenders Kenji Goto and Jack Zeldes, and midfielder Graham Gudis were regular starters.
Matt Bateman and Jerrett Rende did excellent work defensively. Daniel Reid held down midfield. But after 40 minutes, the Presidents — who stunned Staples 3-2 last year — led. Nelson Alberto snuck through midway through the period, and the visitors — packing the box defensively — held fast.
After 17 minutes in the 2nd half, it was one of those force-fields-around-the-opposing-goal types of games. The Wreckers had done everything but score. Yet Teddy Lawrence — one of 6 junior varsity players called up for the match — had given the midfield a spark off the bench.
In the 57th minute — as the rain came down — Daniel Brill found fellow sophomore Daniel Reid. A crafty shot from 25 yards out beat the keeper, and — finally — Staples was level.
Less than 10 minutes later, the Wreckers earned 4 consecutive corner kicks. Gudis arced the 4th into the box, where Josh Berman — who had replaced Goto — headed it in.
Gudis converted a penalty kick 3 minutes later. The junior got his 2nd goal 13 minutes from time, a long shot that tucked just underneath the bar.
“Less than a week ago, we were not sure we’d be in the postseason,” head coach Dan Woog said. “We were in 11th place, and not even a lock for the state tournament. But the players set a goal. They vowed to win their final 6 matches. They came very close — they won 5 — and put themselves in excellent position. It’s a fantastic testament to senior leadership, and to the pride they have in themselves and our program.
“We had faith in everyone we put on the field today,” Woog added. “The guys were patient, they knocked the ball around, and the defense got stuck in nicely. Now we’re ready for our 2nd season.”
That season begins Friday. It’s the FCIAC tournament, and the #7 Wreckers take on #2 Danbury, away, at 5:30 p.m. Early in the regular season, the Wreckers scored 5 seconds before halftime to draw 1-1. FINAL SCORE: Staples 4, Harding 1. FINAL REGULAR SEASON RECORD: 9-5-2.
QUICK KICKS: Besides Lawrence, 5 other Wrecker jayvees made their varsity debuts: Kenny Brill, Matteo Broccolo, Max Hammer, Danny Jersey and Rory Steele. Woog praised them for seamlessly fitting in, technically and tactically….
Staples outshot Harding 14-1, and led in corner kicks 7-0….
This was Staples’ last FCIAC match against Harding. They and Bassick are leaving the league next year. The 3rd Bridgeport school, Central, remains in.