Two deserving teams with different pedigrees were crowned champions tonight at the FCIAC boys and girls soccer finals at Norwalk High School.
Staples, with a starting lineup that featured just three seniors but made up for its youth with a high skill level, defeated Greenwich, 3-1, to win the boys title. It was a fitting outcome for a revered program celebrating its 50th anniversary as the Wreckers won their 25th crown. It was the team’s fourth title in the past 12 years but just the second outright in that span.
Staples perhaps best demonstrated its mettle in Monday’s semifinals, when it overcame a sluggish first half against Norwalk in which it could easily have been down two goals if not for a pair of outstanding saves by Adam Liu before erupting for three second-half goals in a three-minute span.
This Staples team played with the same skill level and class as its more seasoned predecessors. Dan Woog, who once played for the team, covered it for the Westport News and then was an assistant coach, has kept the program at the same high level as his venerable predecessors: Albie Loeffler and Jeff Lea.
In tonight’s opener, St. Joseph, which had never even played in an FCIAC final, won its first title with a 2-0 win over Darien. There is even a link between the two: Sarah Frassetto scored the Cadets’ first goal. Her father, Don, is a former starter for Staples.
It was a disappointing loss for a Blue Wave team that is enjoying the best season in its history and will be a definite threat when the state playoffs begin next week. Jon Bradley has done an outstanding job developing the team into a power.
While a lot of the conversation after the game was about Frassetto’s perfectly placed direct kick and Jessica Schloth’s brilliant individual move that led to her scoring the Cadets’ second goal, their unsung hero was Alyssa Gillespie, who seemed to have the ball attached to her foot the entire second half. It was her ability to control tempo with the lead that was the real key to St. Joseph’ first title.