Wilton soccer teams begin post-season Saturday
Both the Wilton High boys and girls soccer teams will be in action on Saturday when the opening round of the FCIAC playoffs begins.
The WHS boys team, seeded fifth, will get things started as it travels to Westport for a noon start against fourth-seed Staples. The WHS girls team, a second seed, will be at home to face seventh-seed Fairfield Warde at 4.
Ladies first. The Wilton girls team is rolling into the post-season on a 12-game unbeaten streak and has a record of 11-2-3. Wilton opened the season with two wins and looked to be heading in the right direction under first-year head coach John Salvatore. However, the Warriors suffered back-to-back losses to Darien (third seed) and Westhill (sixth seed) to drop their record back to .500. Wilton then played top-seed St. Joseph (15-0-1) to a 2-2 draw and hasn't lost since.
The Warriors are a well-balanced team, with strengths up and down the lineup. The squad is led on offense by senior co-captain midfielders Lindsay Knutson and Allie Furlo, along with Haley English. Hannah Maatallah anchors the midfield for Wilton.
Wilton has a strong backline of co-captain Makenna Pearsall, Jillian Lauricella and Bridget Dwyer, but is without goalie Cecily Freliech, who is out for the rest of the season with a concussion. Sophomore Hana Previte has taken over in goal.
The Warriors have outscored their opponents 54 to 10 this season with seven shutouts. Wilton has defeated its last three opponents by a margin of 22-1. St Joseph is the only team to score two goals against the Warriors.
On the boys' side, Wilton enters the playoffs coming off a season-ending loss to Fairfield Warde on Wednesday in Fairfield. The Mustangs needed the win to qualify for the FCIAC playoffs. Wilton will meet Staples, which defeated the Warriors, 1-0, at home earlier in the season.
The Warriors finished the regular season with a 9-4-3 record, and prior to the loss to Warde had put together a seven-game unbeaten streak (4-0-3).
Wilton also started the year with two wins before suffering its first loss of the season to top-seed Greenwich (14-0-2). The Warriors did not lose more than one game in a row during the regular season.
To its credit, Wilton qualified for the conference post-season despite losing several key players to graduation and their other standouts to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy program. Senior Chauncey Allers stepped up to be the Warriors' leading scorer this season, followed by Matt Przybysz. As usual, Wilton relies on its goalie and defense to keep the team in the game. Junior Will DeSantis has been solid in net for the Warriors.
Wilton held its opponents to one or fewer goals in 12 of its 16 matches this season, a feat the team will have to continue in the post-season. The Warriors went 1-4-1 against the other teams in the FCIAC playoff field.