STAMFORD—With 17 boys soccer teams, the FCIAC season is a marathon with dips and surges, peaks and valleys.

The Staples High School boys soccer team suffered through a stretch that saw the Wreckers have two losses, two ties and just one victory.

The good news is the Wreckers are back on track and in the thick of the FCIAC playoff race.

Staples earned its fourth straight triumph Thursday by posting a 4-0 road win over Westhill.

“Each season is a journey. At times, the FCIAC can be a slog,” Staples veteran coach Dan Woog said. “Each season builds its own rhythm. We’re very fortunate to have a self-motivating group.”

With Thursday’s victory, Staples is 6-2-2 and has allowed only one goal in the last four contests.

Westhill (4-3-2) has lost to Trumbull and Staples after three wins and a tie in its previous four games.

“I like my team. It’s a great group,” said Westhill coach Joe Andrews. “But we have to understand how to play big in the big games. We didn’t do that. We allowed one bad goal in the second half and it snowballed. Give credit to Staples. We learned some lessons this week. And now we face Greenwich on Saturday.”

EVERY POINT IS IMPORTANT

The race in the FCIAC West Division remains a dogfight.

Stamford (7-2 after beating Danbury Thursday) has 21 points. Greenwich (7-3 after edging Trumbull Thursday) has 21 points.

Staples (6-2-2) has 20 points followed by Trumbull (6-3, 18 points). Staples hosts Stamford Saturday.

The top eight teams qualify for the FCIAC playoffs. In the FCIAC East, Ridgefield (8-2 after nipping Wilton Thursday) has 24 points. Ludlowe (5-1-3 after Thursday’s scoreless tie with Central) has 18 points.

Doing damage in the postseason is certainly on the radar for the Wreckers. Staples last won an FCIAC boys soccer championship in 2010 and lost in the finals in 2011.

BE THE FITTEST WARRIORS

Staples pulled away from Westhill by scoring with 14:30 remaining, 10:33 to go and 5:20 left.

Senior Tim Liles and junior Azam Plummer each scored twice for the Wreckers.

“Being in the right place at the right time is how we score goals,” Liles said. “But we want to be the fittest boys soccer team in the league. We want to be at 100 percent for 80 minutes. And we want to own the final 20 minutes of every game when opponents get tired.”

“We pressured Westhill at the right moments,” Plummer said. “We jumped on some mistakes. We didn’t lose focus.”

CAN’T WIN WITHOUT DEFENSE

There were too many moments when the ball was played in the air. And too many times when physicality replaced intelligent strategy.

Both goalies were busy. Westhill junior Adrian Chung-Wilks finished with 10 saves. Staples junior Ry Cohen amassed 11 saves before turning over the final seven minutes to Teddy O’Kane (0 saves).

Staples’ defense kept Westhill’s quick-strike, long-ball attack at bay as the Wreckers collected their sixth shutout of the year.

“(Senior co-captain) Chris Martenson was a force in the middle of the defense,” Staples coach Woog said. “Nick Ambrose, Gabe Baltierra and Ryan Fincher were the other three stalwarts on D today.”

rdepreta@stamfordadvocate.com

STAPLES 4, WESTHILL 0

STAPLES 1 3—4

WESTHILL 0 0—0

Records: Staples 6-2-2, 6-2-2 FCIAC; Westhill 4-3-2, 4-3-2 FCIAC.

Goals: S—Tim Liles 2, Azam Plummer 2. Assists: S—Vaughn Sealey, Will Birch, Tim Liles, Pato Perez Elorza. Goalies: S—Ry Cohen (11 saves), Teddy O’Kane (0 saves). W—Adrian Chung-Wilks (10 saves).