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Published on November 8th, 2022 | by Staples Soccer


State Tournament Match Report: Wilbur Cross Eliminates Staples

Staples conceded a pair of first-half goals. After an evenly played opening 40 minutes, the Wreckers dominated Wilbur Cross.

But — helped by excellent goalkeeping — the Governors withstood the assault. Their 2-0 at New Haven’s Bowen Field advanced them to the second round of the state “LL” (extra large schools) tournament, against Newington. Cross — seeded #8 in the division — is now 11-1-5. Staples, ranked 25th, ends 7-9-1.

Playing their first official match in 2 weeks,  and going into a steady wind, the Westporters unveiled a new, offensive-minded formation.  They showed their trademark quick ball-possession movement, but could not generate dangerous opportunities inside the 18.

Cross combined individual and team speed with both skill and an occasional long ball. It earned them the first 2 dangerous chances, a 4th-minute shot that just went wide, and a 10th-minute blast that keeper Nick Sikorski read and saved.

In the 18th minute, a cross from the right side was deflected across the box by a defender. The ball fell to the feet of junior Johnny Sanchez who finished cleanly.

Twelve minutes later a mistouch led to an easy, open-net goal by the hosts.

Chasing the game  after intermission, the Wreckers played one of their best halves of the season. They never panicked; playing instead with controlled urgency, they were in control for large stretches. But a season-long inability to finish the few opportunities they created dogged them to the end.

In the waning minutes they went with only 2 defenders. That created even more pressure, but no goals.

Cross was limited to just a few forays past midfield. Junior keeper Aldo Lopez — making his varsity debut after halftime — punched the Governors’ best shot over the top, for a corner kick.

it was a tough ending for the young Wreckers, who weathered adversity — including injuries and illnesses — all season long.

But with only 5 senior starters graduating, and players responsible for 18 of their 25 goals this year returning — the future looks strong FINAL SCORE: Wilbur Cross 2, Staples 0. FINAL SEASON RECORD: 7-9-1.

QUICK KICKS: graduating seniors include Ethan Cukier, Josh Deitch, Steve Divino, Ben Douglas, Campbell Gerrard, Alex Laskin, Cole Lieberman, Matt Shackelford and Hunter Smith …

Twelve FCIAC teams were in LL action — amazingly, none against each other. Eight league teams won. #1-seeded FCIAC champ Trumbull edged Amity-Woodbridge 1-0; Greenwich outlasted Farmington 2-1; Danbury topped Naugatuck 4-1; Brien McMahon topped Newtown 5-1; Fairfield Warde shut out East Hartford 3-0; Norwalk pounded Southington 8-0, and Darien topped Conard-West Hartford 3-0. Other results: Fairfield Prep 1, Westhill 0; Hall-West Hartford 2, Ridgefield 0, and Simsbury 1, Fairfield Ludlowe 0 ….

A large and loud crowd supported Staples last night. The match was played at Hillhouse High School’s home field because Wilbur Cross’ grass field is in bad shape. New Haven’s Board of Alders votes soon to approve turf for the Governors ….

Dylan Hoke is Staples’ only All-FCIAC first team selection. Hunter Smith and Avery Mueller both made second team.

Tri-captain Hunter Smith plays out of the back against West Haven.


Tri-captain Alex Laskin outjumps and out-heads the Governors.


Tri-captain Ben Douglas has the inside track. (Photos/Mark Sikorski)



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