The Wilton Warriors went into the FCIAC tournament with a bit of a chip on their shoulders.
The conference ranks its playoffs team based on a vote of the eight head coaches in the tournament, and when this year’s seeds were announced, the Warriors were ranked fifth, lower than they expected.
So they took matters into their own hands and defeated the fourth-seeded New Canaan Rams, 9-7, in the quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Dunning Field.
It was a little redemption, as well a little revenge for a 9-8 loss suffered on that same field in the opening week of the season.
“We knew we could do it from the start,” Wilton goalie Andrew Calabrese said. “Getting the five seed made us mad because we didn’t think we deserved it. Clearly, we didn’t. New Canaan played great but we came out on the higher end this time.”
New Canaan scored the only three goals of the second quarter to take a 5-3 lead at halftime, but the Warriors reversed the momentum with five unanswered goals to begin the second half. Connor Drake netted the last of goal in that run, making it 8-5 with 4:33 remaining.
After New Canaan’s Graham Braden broke the Rams’ slide on a goal with 2:32 remaining, Wilton’s Peter Koch answered and Wilton held on to win by two.
Fifth-seeded Wilton will now take on top-seeded Darien in the FCIAC semifinals at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday at Brien McMahon High School. No. 2 Greenwich will face No. 3 Ridgefield in the early semifinal game at 5 p.m.
Wilton lost to Darien, 11-4, back in April but the Warriors are ready for a rematch.
“We’ve got confidence,” Calabrese said. “We just beat another good team. You’ve got to respect your opponent, always. They’re the No. 1 team in the nation and they haven’t lost in how long, so it’ll be a good game.”