A 6-0 Senior Night victory against Trinity Catholic on Thursday secured a berth in the FCIAC Tournament for the Greenwich boys soccer team — a familiar event for the squad.
The Cardinals have long been contenders for the FCIAC title, with their last title coming in 2017 when they defeated Ridgefield for the championship. Greenwich also shared the conference title with Trumbull in 2016 and garnered the championship in 2013, 2007 and 2005 under coach Kurt Putnam’s watch.
“I’m over the moon that we have a chance to win the FCIAC title again,” Putnam said. “Once you get into the FCIAC Tournament, anything can happen.”
Entering the season, the Cardinals weren’t sure what was going to transpire this fall, considering graduation claimed 29 seniors from last season’s squad, which advanced to the Class LL Tournament quarterfinals.
Yet the Cardinals have produced a representative season, posting a record of 9-3-2 going into Friday’s home matchup against Wilton. Greenwich, which plays its regular season finale Monday at Fairfield Ludlowe, was tied for fourth place with Wilton heading into the game with 29 points, so they could host a first-round FCIAC Tournament game should they finish among the top four teams. Eight teams qualify for the tournament.
“I feel confident about our team going into the playoffs,” said Greenwich senior captain/goalie Padraig Colligan, who has turned in a standout season. “Against tougher opponents, we don’t have a great record, but we’ve had a lot of close games and once you get to the playoffs, it’s anyone’s game. We have a good coach and he’ll prepare us for it.”
The season began with six straight victories for the Cardinals, all of which were of the shutout variety. Through their first 15 games, Greenwich has allowed only eight goals, which should bode well for the postseason.
“We had great start to the season, not conceding a goal our first six games, then we went through a rough patch,” GHS senior captain Max Pisacreta said. “I feel like today (Senior Night win vs. Trinity Catholic) we got back on track and I think we are going to be strong the rest of the season — we’re working hard.”
Forward/midfielder Francisco Liguori, also one of the senior captains, has played in two games since returning from a shoulder injury he sustained during the Greenwich rugby team’s state final in May. He scored a goal in his first game back against Trumbull on Tuesday and should spark the Cardinals up front in the playoffs.
“It feels great to be back, I’ve been looking forward to this moment (the postseason) since my sophomore year on this team. Every year there’s always a bunch of good teams and there’s always a bunch of upsets, so you never know which way it’s going to go in the FCIAC.”
Said Putnam: “It’s a big plus for us that we Francisco back. He will make a big difference for us in the midfield.”
In Greenwich’s Senior Night triumph against Trinity Catholic, Liguori, senior Kevin Giano, senior Victor Colin, Connor Skowron (senior) and Bruno Benguria had a goal apiece for the Cardinals.
“We moved the ball around really well from side to side, it was a good game for us on Senior Night,” senior captain/midfielder Davi Pedreiro said. “Leading the team with the other captains has been great. Now we are ready for the playoffs, we know what we are aiming to do.”
The 2018 season saw Greenwich lose to rival Staples in the FCIAC Tournament quarterfinals, before making an impressive run in the Class LL Tournament. Greenwich topped Shelton in the first round, then eliminated top-seeded Xavier, before being edged by Glastonbury, 1-0, in the quarterfinal-round.
“It was really tough last year losing to Staples, especially because we were away,” Pisacreta said. “If we win our last two games, we may get a home game in the playoffs. We’re looking forward to playing teams like Staples, Warde and Trumbull.”
Prior to Friday’s game against Wilton, Greenwich had outscored its opponents, 31-8 for the season, behind Colligan in goal and a solid backline.
“As Kurt (Putnam) says, whoever puts together three good games back-to-back will win the FCIAC championship,” Liguori said. “It will take hard work and a good mentality to do that.”