FAIRFIELD >> Fairfield Ludlowe head boys’ soccer coach Kevin O’Hara described last season as the ‘dream year.’
And in just about every regard it was. The Falcons put together the best season in school history finishing 13-5-1 and qualifying for the FCIAC Tournament for the first time ever.
“It was the best year here we had on paper,” O’Hara said. “The kids were great, upperclassmen were great. The team really came together last year and that’s what I need from my seniors this year, to bring this team together.”
While the Falcons lost a close-knit and large senior class from last fall, that shouldn’t derail this year’s squad from picking up from the success of last season.
Ludlowe features a small but talented senior class that is joined by a handful of underclassmen that bring back experience, depth and confidence.
“Definitely big-game experience is something we’ll have coming in,” senior co-captain and forward Matt Doyle said. “Now we have the playoff experience and that is something we can take down the road with us.”
While producing an outstanding regular season record, the Falcons were knocked out early in the postseason, falling in the FCIAC quarterfinals and the second round of the Class LL state tournament.
O’Hara said this season the team will have that know-how and expectancy of winning; something they lacked last year.
“I think our winning attitude, wanting to win and expecting to win,” O’Hara said. “In years past we didn’t have the confidence. I think our confidence has jumped up this year.”
Offensively for the Falcons’ Doyle returns and will be joined by juniors Tulio Almedia in the middle and junior Michael McArdle up top.
“Tulio he brings his Brazilian skills to the midfield and then we have pretty tall big strikers up top with me and Mike McArdle,” Doyle said.
Defensively for Ludlowe they have the potential to be stronger than last year. Despite the loss of Jordan Layne, the Falcons bring the heart of the defense back including co-captain Lorin Tobey, Alec Georgiadis, Richie Bellucci, Tripp McGarrie and second-year keeper Fred Meagher.
“Defensively, I like what I hope will be one of our strengths this year,” O’Hara said.
While O’Hara won’t make comparisons from last year to this year, one thing is clear, the Falcons have goals of accomplishing more than last year.
“We got knocked out last season way too early,” Tobey said. “We’re going for it all (this year), state championship, FCIACs.”
The Falcons open up the season on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at home against Darien.