WESTPORT — The mantra for the Staples boys soccer team should be “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
The Wreckers closed out an impressive week with a 1-0 victory over previously unbeaten Norwalk — just days after knocking off fellow FCIAC power Greenwich by the same score.
“Now (the players) are running the show,” Staples coach Dan Woog said. “This is their team, which is what we want. We can outline training sessions, but once that whistle blows, we can’t control anything as coaches. They control their own destiny.”
Staples’ coaching staff put the onus on the players following a disappointing loss to Central on Saturday, and the team has answered the call, Woog said.
Senior midfielder Tim Liles scored the game’s only goal early in the first half and the Wreckers held off heavy pressure from Norwalk in the second half for the win.
The Bears failed to convert on several opportunities and had a number of good looks at the goal, but they just couldn’t find the back of the net.
A sluggish start helped dig Norwalk into a hole it couldn’t climb out of, coach Chris Laughton said.
“(I’m) very disappointed in how we played today,” he said. “I thought we got away from how we play, and we just didn’t play with the same energy and desire that we normally do.”
In the tense final 30 seconds of the match, Norwalk had two chances to tie, with a free kick saved by Staples’ Ry Cohen and a corner kick that was headed wide as time expired.
The boost the Wreckers have gotten from the consecutive wins will be huge for the rest of the season, Woog said.
“(It’s) a ton of confidence,” he said. “Soccer is a game of confidence. You can be intimidated by a lot of things or you can look at that and say ‘I’ve trained hard, I’ve worked hard, and I can rise to the challenge.’ Right now, that’s what they’re saying to each other.”
TONS OF GOALS
Prior to the loss, Norwalk had outscored opponents 14-2 in its first six games — including four straight shutouts to open the season.
GAME OF POINTS
The win gives Staples 14 points in the FCIAC standings — good enough for one point behind West Division-leading Stamford entering play on Wednesday.
“It’s something we’ve been working on for a while this season, to capitalize off our high pressure. We saw them moving backwards and our whole team moved forwards. When the ball popped out I was there and just hit it first time.” — Staples senior midfielder Tim Liles on his goal.
STAPLES 1, NORWALK 0
NORWALK 0 0—0
STAPLES 1 0—0
Records: Staples 4-2-2, Norwalk 5-1-1. Goals: S—Tim Liles; Goalies: S—Ry Cohen (4 saves); N—Cole Judkins (2 saves); Gianluca Trofa (2 Saves). Shots: S—8; N—6