Back on Sept. 15, Westhill traveled to Albie Loeffler Field for the 1st game of the regular season.
The Vikings returned to Westport today for another 1st game — this time, of the 8-team FCIAC tournament.
The Stamford side showed 2 forwards — not 3, as previously — on the well-maintained, but muddy and slippery, grass. The Wreckers attacked into the wind in the 1st half, and seemed tentative at the outset — perhaps a reaction to Wednesday’s 2-0 loss at Central.
But their confidence grew as their defense tightened, and their offense found seams. Thirteen minutes in, Sean Gallagher — the stalwart left back — carried forward. Mikey Scott took Gallagher’s outlet deep into the corner, cut inside his man, then laced a dangerous ball across the box. Brendan Lesch met it crisply, power-heading a shot that ripped into the back net.
Confident, the blue-and-whites kept advancing. In the 34th minute Alan Reiter collected a cross from Scott, and ripped a shot that was saved off the line. A goalmouth scramble ensued. Mikey Fitzgerald wound up with the ball, and fed Mike White for a tap-in.
A 2-0 lead at halftime would have been nice. But 3-0 was better. Two minutes before time, a series of selfless passes by Gallagher and Matteo Marzoli freed up Greg Gudis for the tally.
The Wreckers’ halftime talk focused on putting the Vikes away — and they did. A 52nd-minute cross into the box from sweeper Jack Hennessy was not cleared. It landed at the feet of Fitzgerald. The central defender — sporting a new, curly Mohawk — side-volleyed a shot, and Staples was up by 4.
Six minutes later Marzoli’s fancy work distracted the keeper. Gudis pounced, and finished strongly for his 2nd goal of the day.
All 24 Wrecker field players played. Connor Walsh — injured for much of the year — made his varsity goalkeeping debut, and preserved the shutout with a solid sliding save, with 12 minutes remaining.
The win advances Staples into the FCIAC semifinals. They face Greenwich — 3-1 victors over Trumbull — Monday at Fairfield Ludlowe High School. Game time is 5 p.m. The other quarterfinals — Ridgefield-Stamford, and Central-Norwalk — will be played tomorrow. FINAL SCORE: Staples 5, Westhill 0. Season record: 15-2.