WESTPORT, Conn. Just when it looked like Terrance Gibbons was the hero of Thursday's early season boys' soccer thriller again Wilton, Jake Malowitz stole the spotlight. The Staples senior co-captain assisted on Gibbons' fantastic slide-kick goal, but it was his defense that saved a 1-0 victory over the Warriors.
Wilton threw just about everything at Staples in the second half, getting four solid shots off in the final three minutes. Wilton had free and corner kicks galore and with just over a minute to play, the Warriors looked like they had tied the game.
A corner kick entered the scrum in front of the net and suddenly the ball was behind Staples goalkeeper James Hickok. Wilton's Graham Parsons thought he had a wide-open shot from just five feet out. But Malowitz morphed from defender to goalkeeper, stepping in front of the shot at the last minute to save the game for the Wreckers.
"It was just chaos in the box for that corner kick. (Wilton) has some big guys and it was just a matter of right place, right time," Malowitz said. "The shot came off and the next thing I knew it was off my shins. Lucky, I guess."
Despite that one misstep by Hickok, the Staples keeper had a fantastic game with 12 saves.
It was the first real test of the season for Staples, as Wilton seemed to catch the Wreckers by surprise. The Warriors matched Staples step for step in the scoreless first half and started to take control of the game in the second half.
Wilton had spent nearly seven minutes in the Staples zone when the Wreckers finally got the opening they were looking for. Steven Smith intercepted a Wilton pass, shooting it to the far right side to Malowitz. He hustled down the field to find a wide-open Gibbons, who faked out his only defender and slide-kicked the ball past the Wilton goalie with 5:46 to play.
"Our defense is incredible. It's impenetrable," Gibbons said. "It was definitely a very evenly matched game. We defended and compressed in the back to make sure they weren't able to get clean shots off."
The defending conference champions improved to 3-0 on the young season. Staples travels to Brien McMahon on Saturday for a 4 p.m. contest.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.