RIDGEFIELD — After getting knocked out in the first round as the top seed, the Ridgefield boys soccer team never really got a taste of the FCIAC Tournament.
Now the Tigers are trying to use their conference opponents as a stepping stone to a different prize.
In a game dominated by the back lines, with few good scoring chances until the end of regulation, Scooter Glass scored on a rebound in the 87th minute to give the Tigers a 1-0 double-overtime win over Staples tonight in the second round of the Class LL Tournament.
The Tigers’ road back to the quarterfinals for the first time since sharing the state title in 2003 was not easy.
“Staples has been a tough matchup for us this year,” Grevers said. “They like to pack it in defensively and we struggle doing anything offensively. We changed the formation for this game. The team just came together at the end of the game. There seemed to be a different attitude. Hopefully it will be the same going forward.”
Ridgefield (14-4-1), the fifth seed, defeated Bridgeport Central in the opening round. Now it will get another familiar opponent, Norwalk, in the round of 16 at home on Friday.
“Norwalk to me is one of the best teams out there,” Ridgefield coach Phil Bergen said. “We beat them but it is going to be a big problem. They are going to come out strong.”
Staples (9-6-4), the 21st seed, and Ridgefield played to a scoreless tie during the regular season and it seemed for a long time tonight that it was going to take penalty kicks for one side to finally solve the other.
There were a handful of early chances, with Ridgefield defender Ben Sasse breaking up a nice one by the Wreckers in the 43rd minute and Staples goalkeeper Ry Cohen making two saves from close range.
“I commend our defense again because they set the tone,” Bergen said. “Not just defending but making the plays and threading the balls, which is very nerve-wracking to do. I give them a lot of credit. They found a way to do it.”
The Tigers finally started to construct plays, create space and develop a few scoring chances in overtime.
Grevers was unlucky moments before the decisive goal. He struck a beautiful ball from 35 yards that caromed off the crossbar.
Grevers’ fortune didn’t get any better but the Tigers’ did following a well-developed play between Grevers and JT Siano. Grevers put a shot off the far post as Cohen came out. Glass was positioned to redirect it into an open net.
“I passed it to JT and then I saw there was a little hole to run through,” Grevers said. “Luckily JT saw me and played a beautiful ball and I put it back post, it hit the post and Scooter was there to finish it off.”
Of his earlier shot, Grevers added, “It was tough to see. Obviously you want that to go in. I’m just happy we got a goal.”
The Wreckers closely marked Siano, widely considered the league’s most dangerous striker, and he often was forced to try and beat two or three defenders.
“Defenses dominated; it was played between the two 18s,” Staples coach Dan Woog said. “I think we did a real good job out of shutting Siano down. He’s a great player. We knew what he had. We wanted to keep him away from the ball and we did it and they found another way to score. Hats off to them.”
The Wreckers put forth a diligent effort on a cold night at Tiger Hollow. It was tough for Woog to find any fault with his players, just disappointment in the outcome.
“I told our guys the scoreboard shows that you lost but you weren’t beaten,” Woog said. “It was a worthy second round game; it’s too bad it couldn’t have come later in the tournament but I couldn’t be more proud of my team. They gave it their all as they always do. We gave it our best shot, Ridgefield gave it their best shot.”