WESTPORT, Conn. – The run of four straight trips to the conference championship game came to an abrupt end for the Staples High boys soccer team in a 3-0 loss to Greenwich in the conference quarterfinals Friday afternoon.
Staples had bounced Greenwich from the conference tournament in each of the past three seasons, but the fourth time was not to be. Greenwich came out with revenge on its mind and never let up.
Cardinals defenseman Will Gittings gave Greenwich all the offense it would need in the 23rd minute of the game. Gittings drilled a free kick from 20 yards out into the upper-left corner of the net, and the Cardinals were off and running with a 1-0 halftime lead.
Staples pressed hard for an equalizer early in the second half, but the ball bounced Greenwich’s way all afternoon.
Jamie Kyle intercepted a Staples pass, just managing to keep the ball inbounds. His kick down the field barely stayed inbounds, where Matt Parron was waiting with only one surprised defender to beat. Parron then crossed to a wide-open Joao Galbier, who poked the ball in for a 2-0 lead.
“Greenwich just caught us with the right play,” Staples head coach Dan Woog said. “That’s what happens when you’re pushing up. They caught us and did what they needed to do.”
The Cardinals put the game out of reach less than five minutes later. Mateo Gowland raced to the net on a breakaway and just missed a goal with his shot glancing off the post. But Pieter Zenner was there to collect the rebound, driving the ball into the net for Greenwich’s third goal of the game.
“We’ll regroup. We’ll train on Sunday and see where we go from there,” Woog said. “We’ve won 27 [conference] and 12 state championships, so the states become our next goal.”
Staples will now have more than a week to prepare for the first round of the Class LL state tournament, which begins Nov. 5. The Wreckers are on the cusp of starting the state playoffs either at home or on the road.
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