Boys soccer: Wilton tops Staples in FCIAC playoffs
For the second year in a row, the Wilton High boys soccer team ended Staples' chance for another FCIAC crown.
The fifth-seeded Warriors shut out fourth-seed Staples, 2-0, in an FCIAC quarterfinal game Saturday in Westport.
Wilton will now play top-seed Greenwich in the semifinals on Monday at Fairfield Ludlowe.
Sophomore Jack Brandt scored both of Wilton's goals. Brandt’s first tally came in the 25th minute of play, assisted by Brendan Devane. The goal came on Wilton's first shot on goal in the game. Matt Przybysz sent a long ball down the side to Devane, who crossed the ball into the box to Brandt. Brandt went high with his shot into the back of the net for the 1-0 Wilton lead at the half.
With just over three minutes left to play in the first half the physical play was taken up a notch too high. A pushing and shoving match resulted in Wilton's Justin Shepard and Staples' George Kokkalis each being given red cards and ejected for violent contact. The game continued with both teams fielding just 10 players. Another Staples player was issued a yellow card for the altercation.
Brandt scored again in the 68th minute when he put in a loose ball off a shot from Chauncey Allers.
"I saw the action in front of the net and put myself in position to pick up the loose ball. It wasn’t a very good shot, but it was on the goal and it went in,” said Brandt.
Wilton’s backline of co-captains Troy Lamason, AJ Galimi and Przybysz, along with Patrick Prinner, was tested throughout the game and came up big in support of keeper Will DeSantis. Early in the second half, Lamason stepped in front of the goal to clear a ball that was headed on the net. DeSantis had seven saves in the game and had to defend on eight corner kicks by Staples.
Wilton, not known to play a physical game, played aggressively and matched its opponent’s style and held its own. The Warriors kept their focus and challenged the 50/50 balls.
Wilton had chances to increase its lead but a foul on Allers, who was a step away from a breakaway, gave the team free kick. Allers' kick then sailed over the net. Allers had another scoring chance, but his shot just missed the corner of the net.
"They played with a lot of heart today,” said Wilton head coach Jim Lewicki about his team. “This field gives Staples a huge home-field advantage ... our team came in here and played hard and got the win.
"Our defense and goalie were outstanding today," added Lewicki. We knew it was going to be physical battle and we held our ground. Our first goal was picture perfect; just like you draw it up on the board.”