Unfrozen Mike Cardillo here.
Roughly 24 hours back from the FCIAC boys and girls soccer championships at Kristine Lilly Field in Wilton and I think I finally have some feeling back in my toes.
Just a fair suggestion to the powers that be in the FCIAC, why not a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon…when there is still sun…and a little warmth. Sorry if it cuts into your hot chocolate sales.
Whatever, no one needs to here me moan, however logical it might be.
At the very least the girls game with Trumbull defeating Wilton 2-1 there was some resolution. The previous three encounters between the teams had been ties, including last year’s FCIAC championship game. (Note: in my game story in the Post it states Trumbull had a 2-0 lead in that game with three minutes left. That’s wrong, it was more like 15 minutes. Even in this day and age, I had to call in my story and someone in the office transcribed it. Let’s just say it got lost in translation, so my apologies to Daniel Uhrlass and Co.)
Uhrlass, the Trumbull coach, told me after the game that he felt it helped that his team was taken to penalty kicks in Wednesday’s semifinal against St. Joseph. He felt it gave his team a little more of an edge going into the final.
What stuck out in this game was how tame the Wilton attack was.
The Warriors scored 74 goals in 16 regular season games, but barely threatened the Eagles’ backline. In fact, Wilton’s only goal came as a result of a botched clearance that went right to Devon Bryn, who fed a wide-open Christine Wannamaker.
Credit, Cristina Fini, Kristen Meisner and Co. for a solid, solid job. Fini said after the game that since the teams have played so often the Trumbull defense knew what to expect.
What a player Wilton’s Kate Macualey is, huh? What a dribbler. Definite D-1 player.
And what can you really say about Caitlin Mulligan? Two free kicks — two goals. David Beckham would be proud.
The first goal, from 25-30 yards out, was impressive enough, as she got it to dip just under the crossbar.
The second, from just outside the penalty box, was even better considering Wilton built a solid wall — but to no avail.
Why not let Mulligan explain it for herself.
As for the boys game, a 0-0 draw between Staples and Trumbull. Honestly, not that much to say.
Both sides had a couple chances here in there over the 100 minutes. And from what I saw if the teams played another 100 minutes there might not have been a score. In fact they still might be grinding it out at Lilly Field as I type this.
Trumbull tends to get a bum rap for just being a bunch of thugs in shinepads. That’s not really fair.
Physicallity is part of the game (anyone remember Holland/Portugal in the World Cup…ok bad example). It marvels me that fans get so irate when there is a tackle or a foul. Soccer is a physical game, whether or not parents that enroll junior in AYSO as a non-contact sport/activity like it or not.
Credit Trumbull for being brutally efficient. The Eagles haven’t lost this year in 18 games and counting.
And for all their detractors, the Trumbull counter-attack is very skilled. Deia Nassar, Rob Bronski, Jared Koenig…these are guys that would start for any team in the state.
And with center-back Fred Osbourne and goalie Dan Hajducky scoring goals doesn’t come even for opponents.
As for Staples. They went toe-to-toe with Trumbull and didn’t back down. Most of the Wreckers chances came out wide and not a lot in front of the net.
The best chance was in the 98th minute when Brendon Cristobal took a shot at an open net that Andrew Mishely cleared off the line. (Note: I have received an email from a person in the Trumbull camp that side the shot was clearly going wide. From what I saw it looked like a clear attempt at an empty net. Other opinions and vantage points from the play are welcome.)
I’ve gotten this far without talking about splitting the championship. Obviously the players don’t really care for it. And let’s face it, ending a championship game with both teams collapsing to the field in exhuastion with little or no celebration sort of goes against everything sports should be.
Then again, since the FCIAC began in 1961 there have been now 16 co-champions. Is that a bad thing? Not really sure. Nobody seems like to end the World Cup with penalty kicks, but at least their is decision.
Last night at Wilton, the players, to a man, seemed upset. They wanted resolution.
But the respective coaches, Dan Woog (Staples) and Sebby Gangemi (Trumbull) accepted the split graciously.
“I’ve been here three years and we’ve made the playoff each time,” Gangemi told me. “We’ve never played in the championship before, so this is a good result for us.”
Hey, if the coaches — who this sort of thing actually effects — can live with it, I guess I can too.