Staples’ boy’s soccer team has had another strong season, at one point winning six games straight. They are set to compete in the post-season tournaments.
In late Aug. they didn’t have such confidence.
“With the Academy drawing players from many teams…we really didn’t know what the league would be like,” Coach Dan Woog said.
Not only did the team lose their graduating seniors, but some elite players also chose to play with premier Academy teams instead of Staples this fall.
The boys faced another challenge as the team suffered multiple injuries.
“Eight people have been out for at a least one game, a huge setback,” co-captain Diego Alanis ’14 said.
But Staples has shown its depth and finished 10-4-2 despite such obstacles. Woog said they owe their success to good chemistry, organized defense and strong senior leadership.
According to Woog, among the most valuable players are co-captains Alanis and Jack Scott ’14, as well as forward George Kokkalis ’15, midfielder Michael Reid ’15 and defender Andrew Puchala ’15.
Varisty soccer player Steven Sobel ’14, agreed with his coach. “They’re all people we expected to be big and they have been,” he said.
With these players at the core, the team looked forward to the postseason.
The Wreckers’ hoped to play in the FCIAC championship but were cut off by a 2-0 loss to Wilton in the quarterfinals. It was a close game, but Wilton’s Jack Brandt ’16 finished twice, including on his first shot.
The boys now await the first round of states, to be played on Nov. 5. At tenth in the Class LL, they have a good seat, but there are some strong teams ahead of them, including the undefeated Greenwich. The Wreckers dropped a 4-1 decision to the Cardinals in mid-Oct.
“Greenwich has shown they’re at the top,” Woog said.
Alanis wanted redemption for that 4-0 loss in FCIACs, but now he will have to look for revenge in states. But Woog also warned against focusing on just one opponent when losing a single match will knock the Wreckers out of the running.
“You can’t look past anybody,” Woog said. “Any team can put together an 80 minute effort.”
The Wreckers don’t yet know who they will play in the first round, but they are eager to hit the field. The boys don’t believe in doing things halfway.
“There’s always one goal and one goal only. Win the last game of the season,” Alanis said.