Early red card hurts Wilton boys soccer in loss to Westhill

Playing its first home game of the season, the Wilton High boys soccer team fell to Westhill, 4-0, on Friday  afternoon at Allen’s Meadows Field.

It was the second straight shutout loss for the Warriors, who were beaten 3-0 by Norwalk on Wednesday.

Just nine minutes into Friday’s match, Wilton found itself a player down. Starting goalie Kace Stewart was given a red card and sent off for taking down a Westhill player on a one-on-one situation outside the box. The Warriors were able to replace Stewart with Rishabh Raniwala but had to remove a field player, leaving the hosts a man short for the rest of the game.

Raniwala did well to save the Westhill direct kick that resulted from Stewart's foul, but that moment was to be the lone highlight for Wilton.

Westhill got two goals in each half and kept the Warriors scoreless to come away with the road victory.

“It’s demoralizing to lose your starting goalie and play a man down to a team like Westhill,” said Wilton co-captain Chase Connolly. “This is a team sport and we didn’t play as a team today and it showed. We have a lot of raw talent on this team; we just have to go out and apply it in the games.”

In the 24th minute, Westhill’s Lucas Goldfluss broke the scoreless tie as he popped the ball over Raniwala, who had moved out to defend Goldfluss on the play.

Vinnie Manginelli upped the Westhill lead to 2-0 in the 32nd minute with a low, driving shot past the Wilton goalie.

About 10 minutes into the second half, Manginelli added his second goal on a high shot. Dave Sagastume then capped the scoring in the 63rd minute, as he also went high to beat Raniwala and extend Westhill's lead to 4-0.

Wilton did have some chances in both halves to get on the board, but the hosts couldn't finish when close to the Westhill goal. Michael Zizzadoro had several good looks at the net but saw his shots either go wide or wind up saved by the Vikings' keeper.

In the post-game talk, assistant coach Jason Greasley said that he expected Wilton to put forth a better effort while playing a man down. Greasley also mentioned that during rushes up the field the Wilton players didn’t seem ready for the ball when it came their way, limiting any sustained offensive pressure.

“We didn’t play as a team today,” said head coach Jim Lewicki. “We have too many players that play as individuals who try to finesse the ball up the field. I thought we had a young, experienced team, but today we played like a young, inexperienced team. We have  a lot of things to work on and we’ll see who wants to put in the effort to improve.”

Notes: Due to the red card, Stewart will also miss Wilton's next game on Monday against Staples.