Staples boys soccer knocked out in FCIAC quarterfinals
Jack Brandt picked the perfect time to double his season-long goal total for the Wilton boys soccer team in his teams' FCIAC quarterfinal contest with Staples Saturday afternoon.
Brandt, a sophomore with just two goals to his name during the regular season, found the back of the net once in each half as No. 4 Wilton advanced to the semifinals with a 2-0 win at Loeffler field. The Warriors will meet Greenwich Monday at Ludlowe for a spot in the final.
"It feel awesome to get those two goals for my team," Brandt said. "I feel with the momentum and the confidence we have I think we have a chance (against Greenwich)."
The Wreckers had an edge in shots (10-6) and corner kicks (8-2), but lost for the third straight game despite controlling the contest.
"We had our chances," Staples coach Dan Woog said. "This is a very unlucky team; we've had our chances."
Brandt opened the scoring on the Warriors first shot of the game in the 26th minute. Brendan Devane whipped in a cross that Brandt met with a powerful shot. The move came after Staples control most of the early stages without generating a clear-cut chance.
"That's a typical Staples team, they are going to control the game," Wilton coach Jim Lewicki said. "We just had a terrific break on the weak side of the field, got down the wing and (Devane) gave a beautiful cross to Brandt. That is picture perfect; you work on that all the time."
With Staples pressing for a tying goal in the second half, Wilton struck again. Chauncy Allers' shot was blocked into the path of Brandt, who himself hit a scuffed shot that got past Wreckers goalie Noah Schwaeber.
"It was really big, (Staples) was getting a lot of pressure, a lot of throw-ins and crosses," Brandt said. "I was even thinking they might put one in but once we got that second goal the win sunk in."
The win also avenged a 1-0 regular season defeat to the Wreckers Sept. 25.
"Losing that game it was an unfortunate goal they had on our home turf, we were made we wanted to come out here and beat them in FCIAC's," Brandt said.
Tempers flared late in the first half. Wilton's Justin Shepard and Staples' George Kokkalis were sent off for violent conduct for their part in a shoving match between the two sides. Both teams played the rest of the contest with 10 men.
"It's nonsense; you have to keep your head if you want to be a championship team," Woog said. "You have to keep your head, but it ended up being equal numbers."
Staples has nearly two weeks to prepare for the Class LL tournament. The Wreckers have nursed injuries for the second half of the season and should reap the benefit of such a long layoff. Schwaeber returned to the net after missing four games with a concussion.
"It was big to have (Schwaeber's) voice and (center back Andrew) Puchala's voice back there," Woog said. "It was important; we have 10 days to start getting ready for the state tournament."
Wilton 2, Staples 0
WILTON 1 1 -- 2
STAPLES 0 0 -- 0
Records: Wilton 10-4-3; Staples 10-5-2.
Goals: W--Jack Brandt 2. Assists W--Chauncy Allers, Brendan Devane. Goalies: W--Will DeSantis (5 saves); S--Noah Schwaeber (1); Shots: S--10; W--6.