WESTPORT — Despite the fact that both the Fairfield Ludlowe and Staples boys’ soccer teams have already qualified for the FCIAC Tournament that kicks off Friday, Monday’s regular season game still had a lot on the line.
For Ludlowe, it was about continuing the historic and strong season they have assembled.
The Falcons (11-3-1) were able to break a 1-1 tie at the half and net the game-winner midway through the second half for the 2-1 score.
The victory for Ludlowe was the first time in program history the Falcons defeated the Wreckers at Staples and moved them into third place in the standings.
“It was more about pride today and us starting to exert our argument, we’re here this year, we’re for real,” Ludlowe head coach Kevin O’Hara said. “And to come into Staples and beat Staples at Staples is a big statement.”
Monday’s game for Ludlowe was a telling statement of a program that is on the rise and qualified for the FCIAC Tournament for the first time in program history.
Down one goal, Ludlowe answered right before the first half ended as Richie Bellucci headed in a corner to tie the game.
O’Hara said at halftime the speech was all about keeping the momentum and using it.
The Falcons matched Staples’ intensity and pressure as Billy Donatuti was able to score his first varsity goal ever midway through the second half. He took advantage of a miscommunication between the Wreckers defense and netted a ball booted from teammate Matt Galle.
“We just tried to get them to rise to the occasion,” O’Hara said of his team. “The history and playing here at Staples, we were down 1-0, to get that right before (the half) we just tried to build off that. That goal (Donatuti) was pure hard work.”
Staples (10-3-2) meanwhile, slipped into fourth place in the conference standings. The Wreckers scored first off a shot from Patrick Beusse that Joe Pravder rebounded and put in for the 1-0 edge. Staples, which outshot Ludlowe, had multiple opportunities to score, but keeper Frederick Meagher did a nice job of keeping the Wreckers at bay, including a few late saves.
“It was not a Staples performance,” Staples head coach Dan Woog said. “You know, give Ludlowe a lot of credit for sticking to their game plan, they got the job done and we did not. We had opportunities that we didn’t convert.”
Staples will conclude the regular season Tuesday as they travel to Westhill.
For Ludlowe, they will finish off the season on Wednesday hosting Norwalk at 7 p.m.
“It’s really been a magical year,” O’Hara said. “The kids have really worked hard to have 11 wins. The kids are excited.”