Dominant Greenwich High boys soccer finishes off Warde, 6-0

Greenwich High School senior Sebi Hickman works the ball past his Fairfield Warde opponent during Thursday afternoon's game. — Beth Silverfarb photo

Greenwich High School senior Sebi Hickman works the ball past his Fairfield Warde opponent during Thursday afternoon’s game. — Beth Silverfarb photo

In the most explosive 30 minutes of his tenure as head coach of the Greenwich High School boys soccer team, Kurt Putnam watched his Cardinals score six goals in just over 30 minutes against Fairfield Warde High School.

With Big Red’s scoring not a problem, the team’s defense was stingy and helped the team net  a 6-0 victory over the Mustangs earlier today.

“It was pretty devastating,” Putnam said. “It was actually surprising because we have been starting off really slow. We have not yet put together a full game of football for 80 minutes. We played a good half in a bunch of games and played a decent game against Wilton and Norwalk. But if we play the way we played in the first half for 80 minutes, it will be really difficult for a team to beat us. To me, that six-goal outburst was the most devastating half I’ve ever coached at Greenwich.”

After controlling the ball from the opening whistle, Greenwich got the ball down deep in the Fairfield Warde zone. Senior Patrick Santini passed to senior Chris Galeano, who then blasted the ball passed the FWHS goalie for the 1-0 lead with only 44 seconds gone by in the game.

From there, it was all Big Red. With 36:28 to play in the half, Galeano drilled a rocket from 15 yards out, but the Warde goalie made the leaping save. Less than a minute later, Greenwich would add to its lead. Off a long boot by senior Mateo Gowland, sophomore Nick Bartels got possession of the ball and redirected it in the net at point-blank range for the 2-0 lead.

The Greenwich High boys soccer team gets ready to take the field just before the start of Thursday's game against Fairfield Warde High School. — Paul Silverfarb photo

The Greenwich High boys soccer team gets ready to take the field just before the start of Thursday’s game against Fairfield Warde High School. — Paul Silverfarb photo

Three minutes later, the Cards added its third goal. Off a throw-in on the far side, senior Will Gitting got a head on the ball and drilled the shot in the back of the net. With 29:25 to play in the half, Greenwich kept the pressure on the Mustangs’ defense and once again found the goal, as Santini netted his second goal of the game, but also completed the hat trick nine minutes later.

Bartels rounded out the scoring by taking the pass form junior Paul Quiroga and firing it past the FWHS goalie for the 6-0 lead.

“It was nice to get everybody in the game,” Putnam said. “It’s good for their confidence. Everybody got to play a lot today. There were guys out there that got to play more than the starters did.”

With the victory, Greenwich improved to 8-0-1 on the season and have been steamrolling the competition.

In addition, Greenwich is also getting noticed for its success at the national level. The National Soccer Coaches Association of America has Greenwich High School ranked 19th in the country. Glastonbury, ranked 17th, is the only other team from Connecticut nationally ranked in the top 25.

“I would definitely take 8-0-1 right now,” Putnam said. “We have been looking really good and the players have a saying that they have unfinished business from last year. They want to try to keep that national ranking for as long as they can. However they know one slip-up would most likely knock them right out. We

The reason for Big Red’s success on the pitch today was due to its ability to squeeze Warde’s space with two or three athletes pressuring, something Greenwich has been working on throughout the season.

“We were trying to switch the ball over as quickly as possible,” Putnam said. “When you play that quick, you’re going to get the ball in their offensive area a lot. We played quickly to our front men and then we were supporting them quickly. That is what has made a huge difference and it’s really nice to see.”

While it’s difficult to find a flaw with a team that is currently 8-0-1 on the season, Putnam still knows that there is work to be done if team plans on being in the hunt for some hardware at the end of the season.

“We need to keep playing like we did in the first half,” Putnam said. “Our biggest hurdle, quite honestly, is going to be ourselves. It’s going to be our mentality and focus. We can’t get complacent and can’t get too confident. I need to keep their feet on the ground and make sure they take it one game at a time. If we go out and play the way we did today, I like our chances. There are some very good teams in our conference, but they are going to have to be really good to beat us.

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