Brandt helps Wilton boys soccer team top St. Joseph

The last three times the Wilton High boys soccer team had taken the field it had lost. So when St. Joseph took a 1-0 lead just 23 seconds into Friday's game at Kristine Lilly Field, it was easy to imagine the thoughts going through the minds of the Wilton players and coaches.

"Here we go again,” said junior Jack Brandt.

But the Warriors soon recovered, and it was Brandt who played a leading role. He tied the score in the 19th minute with a low, driving shot past the diving St. Joseph goalie that sent Wilton on its way to a 4-2 victory.

St. Joseph had a chance to go back on top with a direct kick just outside the Wilton box, but the attempt hit the Warrior wall in front of the net and was cleared back up the field.

Brandt had his foot in the Warriors' go-ahead goal in the 26th minute as he feed Josh Reeve, who was running down the wing. Reeve got around his defender and sent a shot toward the far post that had the goalie beat. A Cadet player tried to step in and help his keeper, but he ended up putting the ball in his own net for the 2-1 Wilton lead. Reeve was credited with the goal.

Wilton (6-3-2) came out of the halftime break and put immediate pressure on the Cadets, resulting in the Warriors' third goal just 2:02 into the second half. Brandt threaded a low ball through the defense to Aaron Breene, who was shoulder to shoulder with a St. Joseph defender but managed to score.

"I felt I needed to come out and make an impact for our team today and help get our confidence back," said Brandt. "I was able to read their defense and identify their weakness and I just went right at them."

"Jack (Brandt) gave us a great effort today," said Wilton head coach Jim Lewicki. "He plays the whole field and helps set up the offense or puts it in the net himself."

The Cadets(4-6-1) cut the lead to 3-2 with 18;31 left in the game when Matthew Reis sent a crossing pass to the far post and Brian McBride drove it home for the goal. Reis had also scored the opening goal of the game for the visitors.

But the home team stayed focused and answered back less than a minute later to regain its two-goal lead. Eric Pelletier got the score, assisted by Michael Lynch.

“I don’t know what it is going to take for us to score first this year,” said Lewicki after the game. "Seven times this season the other team scored first, and we are 3-3-1 in those games. That’s not good.

"When they scored first today I didn’t panic," added Lewicki. "I know what my team can do and they have battled back many times this year. We have to come out and start taking the lead in the rest of our games and put the pressure on our opponent.

Wilton was issued two yellow cards during the game, giving it nine on the season — a concern for Lewicki. “If a team gets a total of 16 yellow cards during the regular season and its conference playoffs it is ineligible for the state tournament," he said.

Will DeSantis was in goal for the Warriors and made four saves.