Wilton boys soccer tops Central in opener

For 60 minutes Tuesday afternoon, Wilton High boys soccer head coach Jim Lewicki was wondering where the team he had watched play five great pre-season games had gone.

In its season opener at home against Bridgeport Central, Wilton was getting beat to 50-50 balls, letting the Hilltoppers fire shots on net, and finding only frustration on offense.

But the Warriors kept their composure and eventually found their stride, posting a 3-1 victory.

“It is very frustrating to see my team come out and play the way they did, after a promising pre-season," said Lewicki after the game. "I don’t know if it was first-game jitters or that they took the opponent too lightly, but it wasn’t what I expected.

"Bridgeport [Central] came out and played a great game," added Lewicki. "They pushed the ball up the field and had control of play in the first half. However, my kids stayed focused and worked through it to come away with the win.”

Both teams had quality scoring chances in the first half, but each came up empty. Wilton co-captains Jordan Lord and Jack Brandt had shots hit off the post, while a Central player, who spilt the Warrior defense, sent his shot wide of the net.

Brandt finally took one of the zeroes off the scoreboard in the 61st minute, scoring on an assist by Eric Pelletier for a 1-0 Wilton lead.

"The first half was the worst half we’ve played this year,” said Brandt, referring to the team's scrimmages.“They gave us a good game, and we know we’re going to have to put forth a better effort against the top teams in the league.

"Each game this year is going to be a battle and we need to be ready to play. We need to press more and be more aggressive, which we did in the second half. We stayed composed and kept working hard to win the game."

But not without a scare. Two minutes after Brandt's goal, Central struck back with a goal in the 63rd minute to tie the score. Wilton showed passive play in clearing the ball from in front of its goal and Central capitalized with the equalizer.

The Warriors went ahead again — this time to stay — just 26 seconds later. Following a Central foul in the box, Wilton senior Harry Allers scored on the penalty kick, sending his shot to the right of the goalie, who got a piece of the ball but couldn't keep it out of the net.

Wilton upped its lead to 3-1 in the 70th minute, when Dom Favilla celebrated his birthday by depositing the rebound of a shot into the far corner of the Central net. Favilla’s goal came off the determined play of Allers and Brandt.

Notes: Most of the Warriors' program-record 23 seniors saw action in the game.

Senior Mitchell Bascom started in goal for the Warriors, and classmate Grey Livingstone was between the pipes for the second half.