Greenwich garners FCIAC title

FCIAC finals MVP Nick Bartels leaps over a slide tackle during Greenwich's 4-1 win over Ridgefield on Wednesday. Jason Rearick photo.

FCIAC finals MVP Nick Bartels leaps over a slide tackle during Greenwich’s 4-1 win over Ridgefield on Wednesday. Jason Rearick photo.

Watching Greenwich High compete numerous times this season, it was obvious to me that this team was on a mission.

The drive and determination this group displayed each game against every opponent was impressive. The Cardinals have only allowed nine goals in 19 games, but on the rare occasion an opponent does score, Greenwich seems to get even more fired up and quickly responds.

It took longer than usual for top-seeded Greenwich to pad its lead against second-seeded Ridgefield in the FCIAC finals Wednesday night , and for good reason, since the Tigers played the Cards to a 1-1 draw during the regular season. But the Cardinals did eventually pull away, getting two goals from FCIAC championship game MVP Nick Bartels in the final 12 minutes. The Cardinals kept their unbeaten season going with the convincing 4-1 victory, raising its record to 17-0-2.

Senior forward Will Gittings, who seems to score on a header every game lately, headed in a corner kick from senior midfielder Mateo Gowland in the 22nd minute and junior midfielder Paul Quiroga set the wheels in motion, tallying the game’s first goal with relentless pursuit of the ball in the eighth minute.

Senior Santiago Irigoyen had another strong game in goal and the Cardinals tightly marked their men throughout. The experienced backline of Jonathan Palmer, Ryan Flippin and Sebastian Hickman helped keep the Tigers’ chances to a minimum in the second half, after Ridgefield pushed up hard in the opening half.

So the question remains: can anyone stop the Cardinals? Greenwich will get the No. 1 seed in next week’s Class LL Tournament and will be the favorite to win the championship, so the pressure will be on the Cardinals. Yet the pressure that comes with high expecations hasn’t fazed this squad all season.

In case you missed it, here’s the link to the game story of last night’s FCIAC final: http://bit.ly/19TWBY4

Dave Fierro