Wreckers win another nail-biter in states

Jack+Scott+%2714+raises+his+arm+in+celebration+of+what+proved+to+be+the+winning+goal+in+Staples%27s+win+over+Newtown+in+the+second+round+of+states.+

Courtesy of Kim Lake for Staples Soccer

Jack Scott ’14 raises his arm in celebration of what proved to be the winning goal in Staples’s win over Newtown in the second round of states.

Aaron Hendel, Breaking News Managing Editor

To say the boys’ soccer team struggled late in the regular season might be an understatement. After performing exceptionally well during the bulk of the season, the Wreckers caught the injury bug, and went on to win just two of their final seven games leading up to the state tournament, including their FCIAC quarterfinal loss against Wilton.

But so far in the CIAC Class LL playoffs, they appear to have regained their form. The boys followed up a 1-0 victory against Norwalk on Tuesday with another 1-0 win on the road at Newtown on Thursday night. Co-captain and forward Jack Scott ’14 scored what proved to be the game winner with just minutes remaining in the first half, tapping in a loose ball from up close.

From there, the three man backline, left back Gabe Pensak ’15, center back Connor Weiler ’14, and right back Andrew Puchala ’15, who all missed action late in the season, anchored the strong defensive effort, sealing the win.

Weiler attributed the defensive success to chemistry and tactics. “It’s great to play with Puchala and Pensak; we work really well together,” he said. “We changed the whole formation and defensive structure in the week of practice in between the FCIAC game and the first state game.”

Immediately after Scott’s goal, all 11 players in action ran the length of the field to rejoice with the 15 or so traveling Superfans in attendance.

“Celebrating with the fans after the goal, and then after the final whistle, was by far one of the best moments of my life,” left winger Yousef Shahin ’14 said. “The chants and the atmosphere that they bring are absolutely essential to our success on the field.”

The next game for Staples is on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. in Portland, Conn. to take on Xavier in their quarterfinal contest.

“We believe the title is there for us to take after beating Newtown,” Shahin said. “We won’t stop until it’s ours.”