Staples boys soccer blanks Westhill
Updated 6:46 pm, Saturday, October 1, 2016
WESTPORT — For a team that had only given up four goals in eight matches prior to Saturday, the Staples boys soccer team doesn’t possess the record it had hoped to heading into the season.
But four clean sheets in the last five matches now have the Wreckers pointed in the right direction, and goals at the other end of the field are quickly being picked up.
Anton Mahr and Spencer Daniels each scored goals and goalie Ziggy Halgarten pitched another shutout in the cage as the Wreckers blanked Westhill 2-0 on Saturday afternoon. Now 5-2-3, Staples has picked up 11 points in its last five matches.
“It was a nice game,” Staples coach Dan Woog said. “We did what we wanted to in terms of style (of) play, possession and going to the corners. A lot of stuff we worked on came together.”
Both goals were scored by the Wreckers working the ball out wide and delivering pinpoint crosses to the danger area. The danger man for Staples was senior Daniel Reid, who crossed to Mahr to open the scoring with 27 minutes left in the first half.
“We’ve found in past games we’ve been clogged up in the middle,” Reid said. “We figured, get it out wide, use all the space we can get and try to get in crosses.”
“Daniel had a great game,” Woog said. “He was a little more forward today, he owned the sidelines. Then we put him in the middle; he’s one of the captains and one of the guys who makes this team go.”
Staples particularly dominated the opening stages and could have added to its lead if a screaming shot from Will Birch hadn’t hit the post soon after the opening goal.
Westhill (4-5) gradually came into the game and began looking dangerous to begin the second half. All of the Vikings’ best looks came in the opening stages of the period, but the Staples defense and Hallgarten combined to keep them at bay.
“The first 20 minutes they were all over us,” Westhill coach Joe Andrews said. “I thought to be able to withstand that and only give up a goal, we caught a little bit of a break. We picked it up towards the end of the first half and it continued into the second half.
With the game in the balance midway through the second half, Staples provided the knockout blow. Thomas Nealon whipped in a cross that was smashed home by Daniels to make it 2-0.
Despite Josh Berman missing time through injury, the Wreckers defense has remained a brick wall. Sam Kantor, Teddy Lawrence and Chris Martenson have held down the fort in front of the athletic Hallgarten. The Wreckers have now allowed just one goal in their last five games.
“Those guys are getting it done, and they’re getting it done together as a unit,” Woog said.
The Vikings dropped to 4-5 as both teams entered the game looking to pick up points to claim one of the eight FCIAC playoff positions.
“We’ve competed well against some of the tougher teams,” Andrews said. “We’re right there, we’re knocking on the door. There’s plenty of season left, I’m happy where we are.”
STAPLES 2, WESTHILL 0
WESTHILL 0 0 — 0
STAPLES 1 1 — 2
Records: Staples 4-2-3; Westhill 4-5. Goals: S — Anton Mahr, Spencer Daniels. Assists: S — Daniel Reid, Thomas Nealon. Goalies: W — Jeffrey Garcia (9 saves); S — Ziggy Hallgarten (6 saves).