Boys soccer: Wilton and Darien play to 1-1 tie

Chase Connolly (right, shown in an earlier game against New Canaan) and the Wilton boys soccer team played Darien to a 1-1 tie Friday. — GretchenMcMahonPhotography.com
Chase Connolly (right, shown in an earlier game against New Canaan) and the Wilton boys soccer team played Darien to a 1-1 tie Friday. — GretchenMcMahonPhotography.com

The Wilton High boys soccer team was 15 minutes away from its first victory on the new turf surface at Kristine Lilly Field.

But then Darien got a goal to tie the score and the teams finished in a 1-1 draw Friday afternoon in Wilton.

Head coaches are never totally pleased with a tie, especially if their team had opportunities to score more goals. In this game, both teams had numerous chances, and the final score could have been 3-1 or 4-1 in favor of either.

“Getting the tie was kind of bittersweet. We know we had many good chances to score, but so did they,” said Wilton coach Jim Lewicki, whose team is now 1-4-2 this season. “We had our chance to win, but with the score tied at 1-1 late in the game they had a great chance to go up 2-1 and get the win, so a tie works.”

Wilton came to play right from the opening kickoff and went on attack, but the Blue Wave (3-2-3) was up to the challenge as the early action covered the whole field. The Warriors clearly showed more energy and spirit than in their last few games, and that translated into solid defensive and midfield play, along with the creation of more scoring opportunities.

Liam McLaughlin had the Warriors’ first chance to open the scoring in the ninth minute, but his shot sailed high over the net. Darien’s first good look came in the 19th minute, as a Blue Wave player played a good through ball that led to a teammate’s shot off the post.

McLaughlin had another chance in the 28th minute. His shot was tracking toward the net, but this time the Darien goalie made a save on the low, hard strike.

Wilton finally broke the ice with a goal in the 27th minute, when Michael Zizzadoro took a pass from McLaughlin and placed his high shot in the corner of the net.

“Liam flicked me the ball and I saw the opening so I took the shot,” said Zizzadoro. “The entire team stepped up their game today to come away with the win; this was the best game the entire team has played this year. Our midfield and defense worked really hard. We played composed and had several unlucky chances to score.”

The Warriors held the 1-0 lead until just past the midway point of the second half when Darien netted the tying goal with 15:04 left. The ball was loose in the Wilton box after a long-range Blue Wave direct kick, and with players from both teams looking to gain possession, Darien’s Cole Branca corralled the ball and drove a shot into the net.

Wilton dodged a bullet with just over a minute to play, as the visitors applied some late pressure and earned a corner kick that resulted in a shot going wide.

“The coaching staff and I were very pleased at the way the team came out and played tonight,” said Lewicki. “We got great contributions from defense, midfield, and offense, and from everyone who took the field. This is the level of play that we know they’re capable of … we just need to see it the rest of the way.”

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