For the second time in three matches, Staples High's boys soccer team benefited from the opponent's mistake to score a crucial goal.
In the 20th minute of Wednesday's match at Wilton, the Wreckers jumped ahead when a shot glanced off a defender and into the Warriors' net for an own goal.
Considering how formidable the Wreckers were defensively over the full 80 minutes, one goal proved to be enough.
Yielding just two shots, Staples posted a 1-0 shutout of Wilton at Lilly Field to score its third straight victory.
The Wreckers (5-1-1) had some chances early, but finally capitalized with 20:19 left before halftime when senior captain Jack Scott booted a shot on net from inside the crowded box. Scott's shot made it through traffic and eventually deflected off a defender and into the net off a clear attempt.
"I just kind of hit it toward the center of the goal mouth and it found its way in," said Scott, who returned to the lineup after missing four games with a concussion.
Staples recorded eight shots in all, but the one stood tall. It proved to be another fortunate break for the Wreckers, who also tallied an own goal in a 2-1 win over St. Joseph last Saturday.
"In soccer, there's not a lot of opportunities. There really aren't," Staples coach Dan Woog said. "So if you could take advantage of one, and make sure the other team doesn't take advantage of their's, that's a recipe for success."
The Wreckers' lead nearly grew to 2-0 in the 51st minute when Andrew Puchala's header off a set piece deflected off the crossbar. Wilton cut down on the Wreckers' space around the net thereafter, but still never generated an answer for its costly break.
"It's unfortunate. We always have battles against these guys," Wilton coach Jim Lewicki said, "and they took advantage of our mistake. That's all it takes."
Wilton tallied only one shot in the first half and just one more in the second to drop to 4-2 on the season. The defeat snapped a two-game win streak.
"We didn't put a lot of pressure on their keeper," Lewicki said. "We just weren't hungry. It was pretty upsetting."
Sophomore goalkeeper Noah Schwaeber needed to make just one save to notch Staples' fourth shutout in seven matches this season. Woog lauded a stringent back line that also included Kenji Goto, George Kokkalis, Andrew Puchala and Charlie Leonard, who shifted positions early in the match.
"Charlie's played about three or four different positions for us," Woog said. "He's not a pure defender, but he slid right back in there and did a great job."
Although the Wreckers returned Scott, who saw time at both center attacking forward and midfield against Wilton, the squad remains banged up. They were down three starters for most of Wednesday, but Woog credited his team's resolve.
He recalled last year's match against Wilton, when the Wreckers relinquished a 2-0 lead and lost 3-2.
"It was very disorganized last year. They came at us last year," Woog said, referring to the defeat to Wilton. "We did not say a word about it. It's a different team. But our guys have a great mentality."
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Staples 1, Wilton 0
STAPLES 1 0 -- 1
WILTON 0 0 -- 0
Records: Staples 5-1-1; Wilton 4-2.
Goals: S -- Own goal. Goalies: S -- Noah Schwaeber (1 save); W -- Will DeSantis (5). Shots: S -- 8; W -- 2.