Though Staples’ 1-0 win over Greenwich was well-played, hard-fought, exciting and close, it pales in comparison to the other three FCIAC tournament quarterfinals.
#3 Darien vs. #6 Westhill: Westhill buried Darien 7-1 in the opening game of the season. But the Vikings forfeited that, and 2 other wins, for using an ineligible player. They battled their way into the FCIACs, and were on an 11-game winning streak.
The Blue Wave, meanwhile, were the surprise story of the FCIAC, moving from the lower tier of the league to near the top spot under 1st-year coach Jon Bradley.
Westhill started the match uncharacteristically flat, and Darien roared to a 2-0 halftime lead. But the Vikings tied it in the 2nd half.
The Wavers regained the lead on a penalty kick with 1:06 left in the 1st overtime, then hung on for the 3-2 victory.
#2 Trumbull vs. #7 Wilton: Last year, Wilton stunned Greenwich in the 1st round of FCIACs to earn their 1st-ever tournament victory. This year the Warriors took an 8th-minute lead, but the Eagles equalized early in the 2nd half.
The teams battled through 2 10-minute overtime periods, then headed to penalty kicks.
The Wilton player who scored last year’s goal in the 1-0 upset of Greenwich had a chance to win it this time in PKs, but his 5th-round shot caromed off the crossbar. Trumbull prevailed in the second round of 5 kicks, on the final (10th) shot.
#1 Norwalk vs. #8 New Canaan: These 2 teams met — in the exact same seedings — last year in the FCIAC quarterfinals too, when the Rams pulled off a stunning, penalty-kick upset.
This past Monday Norwalk downed New Canaan 4-2, in their regular season match.
In yesterday’s match the 13-1-2 Bears continued their winning ways, leading 1-0 on a goal by Nic Zuniga 3 minutes into the 2nd half.
But the Rams drew level with 14 minutes to go, on a direct kick from the left — then grabbed the lead 7 minutes later, on a shot by Jon-Luke Ferrandino inside the right post.
New Canaan held on for the 2-1 win — and the chance to play Staples, winner of the “least exciting” FCIAC quarterfinal — on Tuesday in the league semifinals. Game time is 5 p.m., at Fairfield Ludlowe High School.