In a game that featured the best of postseason soccer, Staples High School's boys team edged Trumbull, 1-0, on Friday in the first round of the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference tournament at Loeffler Field. Brendan Lesch's goal off a sweet pass from Greg Gudis with 7:59 left in overtime gave the second-seeded Wreckers the win.
"We needed a game like this,'' Staples coach Dan Woog said. "Every team needs one like this. To have it early in the FCIAC tournament is key." Staples advances to Monday's semifinals at Fairfield Ludlowe at 5 p.m.
Lesch, a senior midfielder who will attend the University of Notre Dame, delivered the game's signature moment. Gudis raced deep down the right side, and as three Trumbull defenders converged, he threaded a to pass in the center of the box. Lesch leaned in and headed the ball past Trumbull goalkeeper Dominick Baker.
"When Gudis had the ball, I knew I should get myself in the box,'' said Lesch, who hobbled throughout most of the second half with a sprained ankle. "He made a great pass. I was in the right place in the right time."
Trumbull stunned Staples (14-2-1) with a goal late in regulation. Keith Bond came across the top of the box on an innocent-looking play. He fired a hard shot on goal, and sophomore goalkeeper James Hickock made a diving save to keep the game scoreless. "I didn't even see the ball,'' he said. "I just reacted."
Hickock (six saves) made several outstanding saves. Trumbull's Baker (nine saves) was equally strong. Trumbull (7-5-4), which defeated Staples in the second game of the season, gave the Wreckers all they could handle Friday until Gudis and Lesch stepped up.
"It's great experience for us,'' Woog said. "It was a gut check to what our guys can do in that situation. I was glad to see our seniors step up and deliver when we needed it."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.