Wilton nips Darien in boys soccer, 2-1

The Wilton High boys soccer team picked up a huge win on Monday afternoon against Darien, battling to a 2-1 victory over the Blue Wave at Kristine Lilly Soccer Field.

With Monday’s win and Friday's 1-1 tie at Danbury, the Warriors' record stands at 4-6-1 with five games remaining in the regular season. The Warriors are 2-0-1 over their last three games, keeping their postseason hopes alive.

After the game, the Wilton coaching staff drove home the Warriors' need to scrap out these wins and put the first part of the season behind them.

“They came out and worked hard in Friday’s tie against Danbury and it carried over into today’s game,” said head coach Jim Lewicki. “Our defense and goalie played a solid game today, doing a good job in keeping them from scoring just the one goal. I’m glad to see the effort the team has given me the last two games and it shows me that they at least want to go down fighting.”

In Monday’s match the Blue Wave took the opening face-off and went straight into attack mode, with several rushes up the field. But it was the Warriors who the early scoring chances, as they quickly reversed the field several times to create opportunities. In the fourth minute of play, senior Ryan McNamara played a long ball to senior co-captain Owen Evershed, who went in on the goalie, but Darien keeper David Volz made the save.

Evershed had another chance to get Wilton on the board in the 15th minute, as he split two defenders and had just the goalie to beat. Evershed held off on his shot too long and Volz cut down his angle and he forced the shot wide. In the 24th minute, Evershed set up Kevin Connolly, but Connolly’s shot was right at the goalie for the easy save.

The teams played to a scoreless first half tie, as both sides agreed that the first of action wasn’t either team’s best effort.

That all changed in the second half, with the two teams taking the field focused and determined to break the scoreless tie. The Warriors posted the first score of the game in the 44th minute when McNamara bent a free kick towards the far post of the Darien net. Wilton defensemen Griffin Klinga, who was moved up to the offensive zone for the kick, jumped up to get his head on it, but it sailed over his head.  The ball fell to the ground and Connolly put it home for the 1-0 Wilton lead.

The home team’s lead was short-lived, as Darien tied the game at 1-1 in the 50th minute, when Jason Flynn got an open look at the net and put it past the Warriors goalie for the equalizer.

Darien seemed up show more life after tying the game and had several shots to take the lead. In the 54th minute, Flynn got his head on the ball in front of the Wilton net, but his shot attempt sailed over the net. In the 63rd minute, senior co-captain Nick Davatzes came to the aid of his goalie by saving a goal on a quick Darien shot attempt. And just seconds later the Warriors got help for the crossbar as another Blue Wave shot skipped off the crossbar.

After all his failed chances in the first half, Evershed’s hard work paid off with the game winner with 13:26 left to play. Senior co-captain Bennett Watson picked up a free ball in the middle of the field in the Darien defensive zone after a Wilton direct kick. Watson passed to the ball to Evershed on the wing, and he turned the corner on his defender and had the far corner of the goal open for a shot, which he blasted into the near corner for the winner.

The Blue Wave wasn’t going to go away quietly. Wilton senior goalie Charlie Hess, who was solid in the net all game, came up with a big save with just under nine minutes to play. The ball was lofted toward the net and, with a crowd in front of the goal, Hess had only one chance to get the ball out of harm’s way and that was to punch it away from the net.

“If I were handing out game balls after the game Charlie (Hess) would definitely get one,” said Davatzes. “I would also give one out to Owen (Evershed) for getting the game winner. We know we have to step up our play to gets the wins we need to make postseason play. We brought more intensity to the field today and it’s always good to get a win against one of our rivals.”

Note: McNamara scored for the Warriors in the first half in the team’s 1-1 tie against Danbury on Friday.