Boys soccer: Warriors win FCIAC opener in OT (updated)
Although the Wilton High boys soccer team hadn’t hosted an FCIAC playoff game in 18 years, the faithful crowd that showed up for last Friday’s quarterfinal match didn’t leave disappointed.
Robert Aravena’s second goal of the game, with 3:50 left in the second 10-minute overtime period, lifted the Warriors to a 2-1 victory over Stamford at Kristine Lilly Field.
The fourth-seeded Warriors (13-3-1) will now face top-seed Norwalk (15-1-1) in the conference semifinals on Tuesday, Nov. 6, at Fairfield Ludlowe at 7. Norwalk’s only loss came at the hands of Wilton by a 4-1 score during the regular season.
“Stamford’s a hell of a team that gave us all we could handle,” said Wilton head coach Jim Lewicki following Friday’s game. “Their backline played a heck of a game. We played as a team today and that’s what carried us to the win. The team worked hard and kept pressure on the ball and didn’t give up being down late in the game.
“It’s great when you work on things in practice and the kids apply it in the game and then it helps you win the game,” added Lewicki.
Wilton had several chances to open the scoring but just could not finish in the box with shot attempts either wide or high. The Black Knight’s defense was also nudging the Wilton dribblers off their mark.
Following a scoreless first half, Stamford got a goal to go ahead, 1-0, with 28:50 to play. Aravena then scored the equalizer with an assist from Sean Dedrick with 6:11 remaining. Kyle Dedrick played a through ball down the left wing. Luke Reyes-Guerra-Dunn tracked it down and sent a pass to the side of the net for Sean Dedrick. He had two defenders near him and redirected the ball to Aravena, who was unmarked in front of the net, for the score.
“Luke sent an early cross to Sean and the ball slid through the two defenders and I had an open shot at the net and I shot it into the far corner,” said Aravena. “The coach told us at halftime to keep working and play the ball out wide and that’s what worked for us.”
The two teams played one scoreless 10-minute overtime, during which Wilton goalie Peter Como came out of the net to make a diving save to keep the game knotted at 1-1. The rebound of the shot got loose, but the Warrior backline was there to support its keeper. Como came up big again just one minute into the second overtime.
Just when it looked as though the game was going to be decided on penalty kicks, Aravena got the game-winner, again assisted by Sean Dedrick, late in the second overtime period. The score came on the end of the field that had the largest amount of Wilton supporters, who got to see the goal up close and let out a huge roar.
“Sean’s pass was heading toward my weaker right foot and I knew I didn’t have time to totally adjust, so I played it off the outside of my left foot and directed it into the net,” said Aravena. “We were totally pumped after the goal and the crowd support was great. We knew we hadn’t played a home (FCIAC playoff) game in 18 years. I’m a senior and this may be my last home game, so I wanted to make the game special.”
Como, who had 11 saves in the game, including four in overtime, made his final save on a shot by Stamford with five seconds left to seal the win.