Greenwich boys soccer falls to Fairfield Ludlowe in FCIAC finals, 1-0

Greenwich High's Alejandro MacLean works the ball past the Fairfield Ludlowe defense during Wednesday night's FCIAC championship game. — John Ferris Robben photo

Greenwich High’s Alejandro MacLean works the ball past the Fairfield Ludlowe defense during Wednesday night’s FCIAC championship game. — John Ferris Robben photo

The Greenwich High School boys soccer team came close to repeating as Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference champions.

However it was Fairfield Ludlowe High School that was able to score the game’s lone goal early in the second half to claim the FCIAC title Wednesday night at Norwalk High’s Sam Testa Field.

“We had a game plan and for the most part it worked quite well,” Greenwich High School head coach Kurt Putnam said. “Fairfield is a good side. They are athletic. They are big and strong everywhere. They have some depth and it’s no wonder they have the record that they have.”

For the Falcons, it was the first time in school history that the FCIAC hardware will be proudly displayed in the FLHS trophy case.

Big Red's Nick Bartels moves the ball down the field during the FCIAC title game at Norwalk High's Sam Testa Field. — John Ferris Robben photo

Big Red’s Nick Bartels moves the ball down the field during the FCIAC title game at Norwalk High’s Sam Testa Field. — John Ferris Robben photo

“I can’t believe that this is happening,” Ludlowe head coach Kevin O’Hara said. “Not in my wildest dreams from years ago did I ever think that we would be FCIAC champions. Credit to Kurt because they had a really good game plan against us. The first 10-15 minutes we were struggling and we had to make some adjustments. We then went to a 4-5-1 to counter what they were doing with five in the midfield and it started to work for us.”

Ludlowe’s golden goal came with 37:23 to play in the game. After pressuring the Greenwich defense from the start of the second half, the Falcons were awarded a free kick from about 35 yards out.

After the Falcons faked the initial kick, it was senior Lorin Tobey that took on the responsibility of putting the ball in play.  Tobey wait, looked at his team, looked at the coaching staff on the bench and decided to drill the ball. His shot rifled high over the GHS defense, curved and found the top center of the net for the 1-0 lead.

“We tried to set something wide and it didn’t pan out,” O’Hara said. “We were confused, they were confused and he just took a strike and found the back of the net. We were trying to go off the wall and trying to send a decoy running over the ball.”

Early on, it was Greenwich that was getting the chances. With 35:20 to play in the first half, senior Chris Galeano had a corner kick and booted the ball in the direction of junior Nick Bartels. However his header sailed just wide of the net.

Fairfield Ludlowe had its first solid chance at a goal with 29:52 showing on the clock, but the defense of seniors David Michaud and Karol Juszczyk kept the ball away from the net on several consecutive opportunities.

Big Red was on the attack again with 26:15 to play in the half, as senior Paul Quiroga charged the net and blasted a shot. But the ball missed the goal by a few inches to the right.

“Honestly I’m so proud of everybody on the team,” senior Dan Ozizmir said. “From the first game on, you could see the intensity picked up every game. This loss doesn’t feel as bad as I thought it would feel because everybody on the field was giving everything they had the whole game.”

In the second half, Fairfield made an adjustment to Greenwich’s game and it paid off. After the goal three minutes into the game, Ludlowe was able to sustain its pressure and get to the ball quicker.

With 14:46 to play, senior Matt Doyle blasted a shot from the top of the goalie crease that bounced off the crossbar. Less than 30 seconds later, Doyle attempted a header the handed just over the net.

Three minutes from the header, both junior Mike McArdie and Mason Jennings had good looks at net that were saved by Greenwich goalie Joseph DeMuyt.

“There were times where they went to 4-5-1 as well because I did think we did stop them taking control of the midfield, which was game plan,” Putnam said. “We wanted to stop them from being able to switch directions of play and I think we did a really good job of doing that.”

Despite just missing out on a back-to-back FCIAC championship, Putnam couldn’t be more proud of his team.

“We need to put things into perspective,” Putnam said. “We had a great season. You don’t expect us to be here. On paper, and compared to what we had last year, we maybe shouldn’t have been here. But these boys worked so hard every day and have done unbelievable things all year just to get to this position. I am so proud of them because they battle until the end.”

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© Hersam Acorn. All rights reserved. The Greenwich Post, 10 Corbin Drive, Floor 3, Darien, CT 06820

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress