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Staples Edges New Canaan, Clinches Playoff Spot

WESTPORT, Conn. – Shortly after the Staples High School boys soccer team suffered its worst defeat of the season at the hands of Westhill High on Wednesday , head coach Dan Woog reminded his players of a sobering fact.

“I told them we haven’t made FCIACs yet,” Woog said. “That kind of woke them up, and their eyes got kind of big at that. They decided how they played wasn’t good enough.”

With that loss fresh in their minds, the Wreckers moved on from their 1-2-1 stretch. Max Hoberman scored in the 27th minute, and Staples held off a furious New Canaan attack in the second half to win 1-0. With the victory, Staples clinches a spot in the conference tournament.

“At the beginning of the season, we thought it would be an easy year to make FCIACs,” Hoberman said. “But as the season unfolded, and we were losing and tying some games, we realized we had to step up with a huge win.”

After Staples took the early lead, the Wreckers had to survive the New Canaan attack. Staples goalie James Hickok made six saves in the second half (10 total) and escaped more than a few close calls.

New Canaan’s Jon-Luke Ferrandino and Steven Valente each had breakaway chances on net. Ferrandino sent a header wide-left. Valente’s was even more of a heart-stopper, but his wide-open shot missed wide right.

Ferrandino and Valente also each had shots that clanked off the post. Hickok and the other Wreckers breathed a sigh of relief afterward.

“After Wednesday’s loss we were a little shook up. FCIACs weren’t certain,” Hickok said. “It feels great to get the win here and clinch it. We played great as a team today.”

Currently seeded fourth in the conference tournament, the Wreckers will try to improve their standing in their final two games. Staples hosts Danbury on Monday at 4 p.m. and against Harding at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Follow Eric Gendron on Twitter for the latest MSC-Fairfield County sports coverage. Like The Daily Westport on Facebook .

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