Today’s rematch of last year’s state final pitted 2 teams that have had trouble scoring. #6 Farmington and #11 Staples both won their 1st round state tournament games 1-0 — in overtime. Both squads knew this could be another 1-goal game.
Or perhaps PKs.
Alex Tonsberg started up top for the Wreckers, in hopes of generating a bit of firepower. But the blue-and-whites played tentatively in the 1st half. The Indians had the run of play, beating Staples to many balls and winning most tackles. Keeper James Hickok saved well twice.
Farmington got on the scoreboard midway through the 1st half, on a shot from the left by Kyle Baker.
Max Hoberman’s long ball in the 39th minute caught keeper Austin Peluso off his line. He backpedaled, and seemed to catch the ball over the goal line — but the official waved play on.
The halftime talk centered on the need to kick the game up several notches.
The Wreckers went out and did just that.
For much of the 2nd half, they controlled play. They won loose balls, possessed, and went forward with controlled urgency. They earned a couple of corner kicks, and several free kicks. They sprung men forward into the box.
But Farmington repelled every threat.
As the clock ticked down, the Westporters pressed even further. A shot from Steve Smith was particularly dangerous — but it was deflected into the hands of keeper Austin Peluso. As in the waning minutes of last year’s final — the Indians hung tight.
And — just like a year ago — Staples’ season ended with a 1-goal loss to Farmington.
“This game was a microcosm of our season,” said head coach Dan Woog. “Of our 21 games this season, 16 were decided by 1 goal, or were ties. That’s the way our entire year went. It’s a tribute to our guys that they gutted so many of those matches out — and that they fought to the end in this one.
“It’s always tough to lose – especially wearing the Staples ‘S.’ But if your team is any good at all, odds are high you’ll end your season with a loss. Only one team finishes as champion. Yet we always set our goals high. If you don’t shoot for the stars, you’ll never hit the moon.
“I loved this team,” Woog continued. “They’re an awesome group of young men. They brought a smile to my face every day. I consider myself very fortunate to have worked with them.” Final score: Farmington 1, Staples 0. Season record: 13-4-4.
QUICK KICKS: Both teams finished with 8 shots. Farmington led in corner kicks, 5-3….
Other FCIAC team scores from the LL tournament: Trumbull 2, Simsbury 1; Norwalk 4, Westhill 1; Pomperaug 5, Greenwich 2. In the L division, Darien edged New Canaan 1-0, while Wilton lost a wild match 6-4 to Wethersfield….
The game was played at Al Bell Field — and former CJSA official Al Bell wished the Wreckers good luck before the match….
For the 2nd straight match, the Wreckers played a team nicknamed the Indians.