Staples and Trumbull took different paths to tonight’s FCIAC final at Fairfield Ludlowe High School. In Wednesday’s semifinal the 4th-seeded, 11-2-4 Wreckers played 100 minutes of scoreless soccer, then ousted New Canaan 3-2 on penalty kicks.
In the other bracket the #2, 12-1-4 Golden Eagles surged to a 3-0 lead, then gave up a late goal in a 3-1 victory over Darien.
The 2 finalists tied earlier this year in Westport. Staples led 1-0, but the visitors drew level with a late goal.
In tonight’s final, the Wreckers started strongly. David Hoffman and Max Hoberman worked the ball well on the flanks; Dylan Evans supported them on the sides. Staples was attacking well, but had few telling shots.
Defensively, they were intent on keeping dangerous Keith Bond at bay. But in the 23rd minute the Eagles struck first, on a low shot from the left side from Zach Chase. Bond assisted.
A Wrecker corner kick 4 minutes later almost snuck through. Two minutes after that, Jake Malowitz used a nice move to find Steve Smith. He was fouled at the top of the box, and hit a great ball that resulted in a corner kick.
That was cleared, for another corner. The ball bounced around; Joe Greenwald seemed to poke it in. The Wreckers celebrated — but the ball was knocked back out, and the officials allowed the play to continue.
It was a controversy that will be talked about for quite a while.
It looked like Staples was gaining momentum. But 2:26 before halftime, Trumbull’s Liam O’Sullivan blasted in a 2nd score.
Wrecker keeper James Hickok saved well to start the 2nd half. It took 15 minutes for the blue-and-whites to regain their footing. Kyle Hoberman and Phil Foisie came on to add some physical presence, and the final 20 minutes saw renewed Staples pressure.
But there were still no solid shots. Trumbull’s defense absorbed the pressure; their attackers went forward when they could, and they rode out the half to their 2nd FCIAC crown ever — and 2nd since 2006.
It was their 1st outright title. Five years ago, they were co-champs, following a 0-0 draw. With Staples. Final score: Trumbull 2, Staples 0. Season record: 12-3-4.
QUICK KICKS: Head coach Dan Woog congratulated Trumbull coach Sebe Gangemi, his assistants and the Golden Eagles team.
“Sebe is a great guy,” he added. We’ve had great games with them over the years, and we look forward to many more. We’ve been on both sides of the fence. For the past 3 years, our fans stormed the field. Today, Trumbull’s did. They should savor their victory, and their championship.”…
The state “LL” tournament begins next Friday (November 11). The 3-day delay from the original start is due to the after-effects of last weekend’s snowstorm. Pairings will be announced on Wednesday.