TRUMBULL -- Although Staples came into this season with a sturdy defense that's backed by one of the most accomplished goalkeepers in the state, Dan Woog knew his squad was far from complete.
After seven matches, the Wreckers' back line has been as rigid as expected, but the need for a spark on attack still lingers.
Despite an overwhelming edge in possession, Staples was held off the scoreboard for a second straight match and settled for a 0-0 draw against Trumbull on Friday evening in a rematch of last year's FCIAC final.
"We had possession, we had shots; we're looking for a scorer. We're looking for hunger in the box," Woog said. "It's true of most teams and we will keep searching until we find him."
Trumbull--a 2-0 winner over Staples in last year's conference final--faced constant pressure on defense but rarely let the Wreckers get a clean look on goal.
"It was a hard clean game. We couldn't score, they couldn't score. It was a battle," Trumbull head coach Sebastian Gangemi said.
Staples (3-3-1) piled up a commanding 10-3 advantage in shots and nearly cracked Trumbull's back line in the 36th minute. The Wreckers perfectly executed a corner kick, directing a header onto the Trumbull net, but junior Stephen Ciulla headed the ball free for the Eagles.
The Wreckers, who were also blanked by Norwalk on Monday, produced more chances later in the match, but none of the same quality.
Senior Nick Weinstein made four saves in goal for Trumbull's second straight shutout, and fifth overall.
"It's frustrating," Woog said. "They're not trying too hard. ... Soccer is a low-scoring game but you'd like to get at least one. We'll take our defense with a one-goal game."
With a busy week up ahead that includes tests at home against the likes of Greenwich (5-1-1) and Darien (5-3), Woog is preaching patience to his squad.
"The message is `Have faith in the process, keep working hard, the goals will come. We'll be standing at the end,' " he said.
Staples' defense wasn't tested nearly as much as Trumbull directed just one of its shots on net. Senior goalkeeper James Hickok recorded his fourth shutout of the year.
Trumbull (3-3-3), which played to a scoreless draw with Bassick on Wednesday, has now also gone two straight matches without a goal. The Eagles--like Staples--have spent much of this season looking to replace the explosive talent on attack that they graduated from a year ago.
"You play with what you've got," Gangemi said. "We don't have the possession and we're not able to string a lot of passes together. We're trying to go a little bit more direct towards the goal."
Gangemi realizes that the transition from year to year often takes some time.
"Last year we had one of the best teams in the state. This year we don't," he said. "You have to deal with high school soccer. High school soccer's like this. You get a couple of good years."
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STAPLES 0, TRUMBULL 0
STAPLES 0 0--0
TRUMBULL 0 0--0
Records: Staples 3-3-1; Trumbull 3-3-3.
Goalies: S--James Hickok (1 save); T--Nick Weinstein (4). Shots: S--10; T--3.