The Wreckers knew tonight’s game would be a battle.
It was their 3rd match in 5 days — all on the road — and their 2nd consecutive night game. Danbury — which graduated only 1 senior last spring — is much improved over last year. And today was Staples’ Homecoming pep rally — fun, of course, but also traditionally very distracting.
It was a focused Westport squad, though, that took the Hatters’ turf this evening. They started cohesively, with Brendan Lesch’s header off Mikey Scott’s throw just missing. Mike White’s shot was saved; a corner kick skipped wide; Scott’s inswinger was not finished — and suddenly it was close to half time, the longest the Wreckers have been shut out all year.
In the 31st minute, though, Greg Gudis’ hard work earned a corner kick. He took it himself. As has happened often on set pieces, it sailed into the goalmouth and was met with a header. Lesch again outleaped his defenders, and this time his shot was true.
The hosts were not ready to concede, however. One minute into the 2nd half they forced Michael McCarthy into 1 of his toughest saves of the year. Two minutes later sweeper Jack Hennessy’s forceful tackle prevented further damage.
In the 50th minute Staples struck again. Alan Reiter found Gudis near midfield. The junior launched a 40-yard shot that soared over the keeper’s outstretched hands, for 1 of the prettiest scores of the season.
Once again, Danbury did not concede. With 12 minutes to go Henry Ipina matched Gudis’ blast for power, though from slightly closer in. It was the 1st goal against Staples all season — breaking a scoreless streak of 388 minutes. “If you’re going to get scored on, that’s the kind it should be,” philosophized head coach Dan Woog.
Staples responded with the poise of a veteran squad. McCarthy and defenders Hennessy, Mikey Fitzgerald, Frankie Bergonzi and Steven Denowitz battened down in the back. Lesch, Reiter, Scott and Matteo Marzoli took care of midfield, while White and Gudis applied pressure up front. They managed the game to the end, ensuring a victory that was as hard-earned as it was important.
“We took a big step forward today,” Woog said. “We needed to be tested, and we were. We had to see if we could come through when we were tired, and we saw it. We had to respond when we got scored against, and we did. There will be tougher matches ahead, I’m sure, but this helped prepare us for them.” Final score: Staples 2, Danbury 1. Season record: 5-0-0.
QUICK KICKS: Danbury had a large, loud crowd, making for an enjoyable atmosphere….
Drew McNair was elected by the senior class to serve as MC for today’s Homecoming pep rally. He wore the famed multi-colored pants last seen on Liam Bohonnon ’08….
Alan Reiter was named Westport News Athlete of the Week. The quad-captain was cited for his 3 assists this week, and was called “a force at midfield with his vision and touch.”…
Max Hoberman’s early goal stood up, as the junior varsity downed Danbury 1-0. Steve Smith, Ian Chasnow, Terence Gibbons, Will Meinke and Ben Root all played well for Ross McGibney’s side, and goalkeeper Alex Soderstrom — replacing the absent David Levi — earned the shutout….
The freshmen shut out Danbury 5-0. Greg Salamone, Noah Bender, Walker Marsh, Harry Birch and Zack Pensak all tallied. Coach Chris O’Dell cited Pensak and Zach Morrison for their solid efforts.