They're back.

Any thoughts of writing off the Staples boys soccer team were premature. Defending FCIAC and Class LL champion Staples broke its two-game losing streak and was satisfied with its effort for the first time this year in a 3-0 home victory over Fairfield Ludlowe on Wednesday.

"We had to put last year in the past, which we didn't do until today," Wreckers Coach Dan Woog said. "All we can do is get ready for next year."

Staples raised its record to 2-2 (it wasn't satisfied with its performance in the season-opening 2-1 win over Fairfield Warde). Ludlowe dropped to 1-2-1.

"They put all the negative stuff and last year, in the past, which helped us today," Woog said.

Having senior tri-captain Sean Gallagher back in the lineup also helped. Gallagher missed the first three games because of an injury but looked like he was in midseason form in the way he helped control the backfield. This enabled the Wreckers to be on offense for almost the entire game.

"It was a relief to be back," Gallagher said. "I have so much playing with these guys and I hated being on the sidelines."

Woog said, "Sean made a huge difference, not just with his physical presence but with his voice as well and the entire team responded to him."

Complementing Gallagher on defense were senior tri-captain Frankie Bergonzi and junior Jake Malowitz, who broke up many plays and kept the ball away from sophomore goalie James Hickok.

"The key was getting back and communicating," Bergonzi said.

Staples dominated the Falcons and although it didn't want to remember last year, it played like last year's team. The Wreckers didn't allow a shot in the first half and outshot Ludlowe, 19-2. They also had an 11-0 advantage in corner kicks.

Senior captain Brendan Lesch led Staples with two goals. Lesch also controlled the midfield and created opportunities for his teammates.

"I was very focused today and I was able to put it in the back of the net," Lesch said.

Woog said, "Brendan Lesch played only as Brendan Lesch can. He played well on both sides of the ball and was like a general, which was great to see."

Lesch gave the Wreckers a 1-0 lead with 32:10 remaining in the half off a feed inside the box from junior Max Hoberman.

"Max Hoberman controlled it nicely and beat his man in the box," Lesch said. "This gave me a nice and easy finish."

Falcons senior co-captain goalie Luke Clifford kept his team in the game with eight saves in the first half. Clifford made eight saves before being rested after the half in favor of freshman Charlie Kottler (three saves).

Staples junior Steven Smith attacked well all game and led the way with eight shots, but Ludlowe senior co-captain Max Grascher and classmate Pat Nadonly neutralized him and didn't allow him to do any damage. When Smith got past the defenders, Clifford was there to make the save.

Clifford wasn't able to stop Lesch, who literally used his head, with 23:35 left. The play originated with senior Jake Krosse taking a corner kick and the captain headed it in for a 2-0 lead.

"Jake Krosse has hit fantastic corners all year and it feels good to be able to finally convert one," Lesch said.

Krosse, Hoberman and juniors Alex Tonsberg and Lars Anistad also attacked well for the Wreckers and senior Mikey Scott controlled the midfield.

With 25:54 to go in the game, Staples capitalized on another corner kick by Krosse, which got to Hoberman, who almost kicked it in, but Bergonzi was there to poke in the rebound.

"It definitely clinched the game and I'm glad to score it," Bergonzi said. "Krosse made a good cross and all I had to do was flick it in."

Anistad had a booming shot that Kottler kicked out later in the game. Sophomore starting goalie James Hickok faced no shots and Woog emptied his bench late in the game. Senior Connor Walsh relieved Hickok and made two routine saves.

"Jake Krosse played his best game of the season, Lars played a great game," Woog said. "People asked me [when we were in a slump] where will our offense come from and I said, `be patient.' It came from different people today."

Lesch said, "We were really excited about the result. We were in a slump but we talked in practice about coming out and having fun and we worked well with each other today."

The Wreckers know that they can't rest on their laurels but they are confident they can build from this win and revert to last year's form.

"We're coming back," Bergonzi said. "We came out and played like a team and hopefully, we can do it the rest of the season."