FAIRFIELD >> The streak continues for the Fairfield Ludlowe boys’ soccer team.
Tuesday evening at Taft Field, the Falcons defeated rival Warde 3-1 to maintain the Swedish Cup. The cup is the trophy Warde and Ludlowe play for every fall since they became two schools in the early 2000s.
Since the first time they played one another in 2005-06, the Falcons have beaten or tied the Mustangs every year on the pitch.
“It’s been a great rivalry since it’s started,” Ludlowe head coach Kevin O’Hara said.
Added junior Michael McArdle: “We came here wanting to win. We wanted to keep that trophy.”
Right from the start the Falcons (6-0) used an aggressive and attacking offensive mindset as they had multiple opportunities early on and controlled possession for most of the first half.
McArdle finally put Ludlowe on the scoreboard as he came up with the ball off a corner and slipped one past Warde keeper Michael Lerman for the 1-0 advantage late in the first half. A few minutes later, the Falcons Brendan Layne connected with the back of the net to put Ludlowe up 2-0 at the half.
“They capitalized on their opportunities,” Warde head coach Justin Ottavio said of Ludlowe. “They were aggressive.”
The Mustangs (3-2-1) did a nice job of adjusting in the second half as they switched to a 4-3-3 set, but what kept them in the game was the brilliant play of keeper Lerman. He held Ludlowe at bay for a majority of the first half and did a good job of thwarting away many almost goals. He finished the evening with 17 saves.
“I don’t think anyone can say enough about what he did,” Ottavio said. “He’s a fighter.”
Ludlowe extended its lead to 3-0 as Tulio Almuedia kicked in a rebounded shot low to the left side of the net.
Warde, however, answered back late in the second half as Jonathan Schuster connected on a penalty kick against Mickey Petrini with less than five minutes remaining. That was the first goal of the season the Falcons have allowed.
Ludlowe’s starting goalie Fred Meagher finished with three saves on the night.
While Ludlowe is now 7-0 on the season, they will have a tough schedule coming up, traveling to Trumbull on Saturday, Danbury on Tuesday and Norwalk on Thursday.
O’Hara said while he likes where his team is at, he knows there’s more to come.
“We haven’t shown our best yet,” O’Hara said.