Staples vs. Brien McMahon

Staples and Brien McMahon brought identical 2-2-0 records to windy Jack Casagrande Field today.

But the Wreckers were coming off a bad 3-2 defeat to Wilton, while the Senators surged after a great 4-2 victory in Darien.

Staples — still hit hard by injuries, including 2 starters — showed a revamped lineup. Yousef Shahin and Jack Scott joined Andrew Puchala on defense, while co-captain Joe Greenwald returned (after his own injury) to a central role.

The Wreckers rose to the task, from the opening whistle. Under new coach Ben Ingalls, the Senators are as strong as they’ve been in years. But Staples forced much of the play in the hosts’ defensive half.

With Jordan McNair and Diego Alanis patrolling the flanks, the Wreckers had a good wide game. They pressured well, and Ethan Bradeen and Connor Weiler backed them up nicely.

Yet the 1st half — with the wind at Staples’ back — ended scoreless.

The Westporters kept pressing after intermission. Freshman Joe Pravder was his usual pesky self, forcing errors and pouncing on loose balls.

In the 55th minute, the constant pressure paid off. Greg Shikowitz — Staples’ relentless, hard-tackling defender — won yet another ball, this one far upfield.

He sent Andrew Travers through, on the right side. The lanky attacker settled, then finished with a clinical strike deep into the far side.

In 2 previous matches, the Wreckers have squandered leads. This time they did not let up. Puchala kept things tight in back. Shikowitz continued his magic — including one jaw-dropping stop-and-start move on the far sideline.

Keeper James Hickok was called upon only once, but it was a beauty. The Dartmouth-bound co-captain flew to his left, punching McMahon’s bullet way to the side. Hickok sent a strong message — to his team, his opponents, and anyone watching — with that save.

McNair managed the game at the end, working the sideline with aplomb.

“This was a nice win,” said head coach Dan Woog. “We had a game plan, and it worked. We’ve got a system, and when everyone buys into it, good things happen.” FINAL SCORE: Staples 1, Brien McMahon 0. Season record: 3-2-0.

QUICK KICKS:  Staples led in shots 12-4, and corner kicks 5-2….

Former head coach Jeff Lea was at the match. He met Joe Greenwald — this year’s co-captain, whose father Tom Greenwald ’79 was co-captain of Lea’s state championship 1978 squad.

Yousef Shahin looked strong defensively against Brien McMahon. (Photo by Carl McNair)

James Hickok saw few shots against McMahon — but he saved them all. Connor Weiler and Ethan Bradeen watch admiringly. (Photo by Carl McNair)

The Brien McMahon coaches were joined by a seagull — on the field of play. (Photo by Carl McNair)

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