Muddy field bogs down Sta­ples, Darien

The Norwalk Hour - - SPORTS - By Steve Geoghe­gan

WEST­PORT — It seemed only fit­ting that Sta­ples and Darien would play a throw­back kind of game.

The Wreck­ers were cel­e­brat­ing their 60th an­niver­sary and the Sta­ples pro­gram has seen many, many games played in con­di­tions sim­i­lar to Satur­day, where the rains from the night and the morn­ing cre­ated a slick and muddy field.

As it turned out, nei­ther team could gen­er­ate any of­fense in what re­sulted in a score­less tie for the two FCIAC boys soc­cer con­tenders in front of a packed crowd on the hill at Lo­ef­fler Field.

“It was a gritty game be­tween two teams very close in the stand­ings with nei­ther team giv­ing any­thing,” said Sta­ples head coach Dan Woog, who has been a part of the pro­gram, as a player and a coach, for close to 48 years. “We stuck to our game plan very well and I think the alumni could re­late to the bat­tles we had out here.”

On some oc­ca­sions when the weather wreaks havoc at the tra­di­tional grass field at Lo­ef­fler, Sta­ples will shift its games to Wake­man Field, which is a turf field, at Bed­ford Mid­dle School. Woog said the field was un­avail­able at the time of the game and to ac­com­mo­date the big crowd of stu­dents, par­ents, teach­ers, alumni and sup­port­ers for the 60th an­niver-

sary cel­e­bra­tion, the game had to be played at Lo­ef­fler. In ad­di­tion, park­ing is lim­ited at Wake­man and there is no score­board.

Darien coach Jon Bradley was quite vo­cal in his op­po­si­tion to play­ing at Lo­ef­fler, but he was happy his team came away with a point de­spite the con­di­tions.

“A point was a fair re­sult,” Bradley said. “The fact that we’re not play­ing on a turf field is crazy. It was dan­ger­ous for both teams. It would’ve been a bet­ter game if we would’ve moved over to Wake­man to play on the turf.

“It was the same for both teams, it wasn’t any dif­fer­ent

for ei­ther one,” he added. “As a spec­ta­cle, it was re­ally tough and I don’t think any team strung to­gether more than three passes. It was just hit the for­wards and hope you cre­ate some­thing.”

Whereas the Wreck­ers had the bet­ter of the play in the first half, the Blue Wave stepped up in the sec­ond.

Sta­ples did have a qual­ity chance to break the dead­lock in the 65th minute when Sam Liles found Lefty Pen­der­akis in the mid­dle of the box, but Pen­der­akis’ shot hit off the left post. Gabe Baltierra gath­ered up the re­bound, but his shot was wide, al­most graz­ing off the left post out of bounds.

“We had plenty of chances,” Woog said. “We cre­ated chances, we de­fended well

and our de­fense did a great job.”

CO-PLAYER S OF THE GAME

Sta­ples’ Ry Co­hen and Darien’s Chris­tian Pl­lumbi

The goal­keep­ers each pitched a shutout with the former reg­is­ter­ing five saves and the lat­ter mak­ing four.

QUOTABLE

“It’s been rain­ing a lot this year so we’re used to it,” Sta­ples’ Nick DiMasi said. “It was much harder for (Darien) to come out on it. I thought we played well, es­pe­cially on de­fense.”

“With the rains, it’s not what we wanted on a grass field,” Darien’s Jo­han Trip­pitelli said. “Ob­vi­ously we would’ve been bet­ter on a turf field so we could pass the ball and pos­sess more but you have to play with what you’re given.”

“We have three games left in the sea­son and it’s still a tight race for ev­ery­body,” Woog said.

“We have 60 years of peo­ple here and I hope we treated them to a good game and I hope they saw the grit and the pas­sion that our guys have,” Woog said.

UP NEXT

Sta­ples at Fair­field Lud­lowe un­der the lights on Mon­day while Darien hosts Westhill on Thurs­day.

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