Warde edges Wilton in FCIAC boys soccer semis
One of the things that has made the Fairfield Warde boys soccer team so successful this season is its ability to adapt game plans based on game situations and opponents.
In the FCIAC semifinals Tuesday night at Fairfield Ludlowe’s Taft Field, the top-seeded Mustangs used a stout defense, smothering the attack of fifth-seed Wilton and winning 1-0.
Warde (15-0-3) now will face second-seed Trumbull in the conference championship game Thursday night at Norwalk High. The Eagles beat Staples, 4-1, in the second semifinal Tuesday.
The defensive game plan for Warde was made easier by scoring a goal 13 minutes into the game, allowing the team to put five players on the back line, with sophomore Eric Jara man-marking Wilton striker Michael Zizzadoro.
Zizzadoro, one of the FCIAC’s most dangerous scoring threats, rarely had room to breathe and was limited to one good chance, sending a shot wide right with about 10 minutes to play.
“I had to man-mark 24 (Zizzadoro). He was quite difficult but I was able to do it,” Jara said. “We sat back and we were able to keep them out of our box. I thought that was pretty good, for us.”
“(Jara) has been our talent-hunter all season and he has done a fabulous job. He has embraced the challenge and the role and he has been brilliant,” Warde coach Justin Ottavio said. “Tactically, yesterday, we talked about scenarios and we were really disciplined today. It was magical to watch. I thought everyone played their role and played it well. They weren’t overzealous, didn’t chase their men and executed our game plan phenomenally well.”
Warde got a corner kick early in the first half and the ball hit off Wilton goalie Jack Lynch’s hands and went right to the feet of Warde’s Danny Villalba, who drilled a shot into the back of the net.
From there, it was all about the Warde defense and midfield controlling play and limiting Wilton’s chances.
The Warriors were able to generate a few solid shots, but when they did Warde keeper Andrew Jones (seven saves) was there to deny the attempts
Notes: Wilton (9-3-6) will begin play in the Class L state tournament next week. Rankings and pairings are scheduled to be announced later this week.