Staples boys soccer lets lead slip away in loss to Ridgefield
Updated 9:22 pm, Thursday, September 13, 2012
RIDGEFIELD --Ridgefield boys soccer head coach Phil Bergen understood why his team might have been a bit nervous at halftime of its season opener on Thursday afternoon.
The Tigers, after all, were in a position that many teams before them have helplessly wandered into: Trailing, with a goose egg on the scoreboard against perennial powerhouse Staples.
Nevertheless, for one afternoon, Ridgefield was able to steer clear of the usual ending to that script and reverse its fortunes.
Ridgefield got goals less than four minutes apart in the second half from Killian Clancy and Liam Weir to produce a rare 2-1 come-from-behind win over Staples at Tiger Hollow Stadium.
"To come back second half like that and be able to drop the nervousness when you're back 1-0 is not easy to do,"Bergen said. "They deserve a lot of credit."
Clancy netted the equalizer on a header with 36:35 left and Weir put Ridgefield ahead for good at the 32:55 mark by blasting home a cross from junior Zachary Bonitatebus.
The win was Ridgefield's first against Staples since 2007, Bergen said, but he doesn't want his team to lose sight of the fact that the season's only one match old.
"It was a good victory, but it's only one game. I think the worst we could do right now is think we're on a roll. ¦ We have to take it as a grain of salt," he said.
Staples, which came into the match with nine new starters, got on the board at the 33:50 mark of the first half when senior Andrew Travers scored off Harry Birch's long free kick.
After Ridgefield pushed ahead, the Wreckers had opportunities to even the match, and narrowly missed doing so. With 11 minutes left, freshman Joseph Pravder sent a ball into the box that eluded Ridgefield goalkeeper Calvin Dearth and bounced off the far post before it was cleared. Three minutes later, Dearth made a save on Travers' header.
Dearth, a senior, made nine saves in net as the Tigers managed to close out the match--something they often failed to do last fall.
"We have to learn to deal with leading. Last year out of our seven losses, we were leading five times," Bergen said. "We have to learn to deal with those emotions."
The loss didn't sit well with Staples, which is reshuffling personnel after losing some players to graduation and others to Development Academy teams.
"We're not real happy with the way we played, individually and as a team," head coach Dan Woog said. "We're not real happy with letting a one-goal lead turn into a 2-1 loss. We're not a happy group."
Woog, who is in his 10th season at Staples, is confident in the group he has but is hoping to see better play.
"We like the guys we have. They worked hard in the preseason, they played smartly. They did not play smartly or particularly well today," Woog said.
One of the Wreckers' highest-profile returnees, senior goalkeeper James Hickok, made eight saves.
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RIDGEFIELD 2, STAPLES 1
STAPLES 1 0--1
RIDGEFIELD 0 2--2
Records: Staples 0-1; Ridgefield 1-0.
Goals: S--Andrew Travers; R--Killian Clancy, Liam Weir. Assists: S--Harry Birch; R--Joseph DeVivo, Zachary Bonitatebus. Goalies: S--James Hickok (8 saves); R--Calvin Dearth (9). Shots: S--9; R--10.