Three games into season, Darien matches last year's win total
Published 3:15 pm, Wednesday, September 21, 2011
FAIRFIELD - Only two games removed from a 7-1 thrashing at Westhill, the Darien High School boys soccer team is continuing to try change the culture of losing.
Tuesday's result is a positive step toward that ongoing change.
"I thought it was a good performance," Darien coach Jon Bradley said.
Elliot Helgans added an assist on a throw-in, and Jack Fisher made 10 saves as the Blue Wave won for the second straight game against an opponent from Fairfield. Darien beat Ludlowe, 2-0 on Friday.
"That's two good wins back to back," Bradley said.
Warde's Sal Siciliano potted the lone goal for the Mustangs as they fell to 1-1-1 on the year.
The Blue Wave matched its win total from the entire 2010 season in just the team's third game of the year. Bradley deems himself responsible of the team's transition in his first year as the boys' coach. He coached the Darien High School girls soccer team for five years prior to this.
"You're trying to change the mindset," Bradley said. "Losing is a habit."
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The team is catching on to that mindset as well.
"It's definitely an improvement from last year," senior Matthew Collier said. "We've adapted to the new style."
Darien scored twice in the first half, with Branca tallying in the first 10 minutes, when Highton sprung him with a pass down the middle of the field. Branca blasted a shot past David DiSilvestro to put Darien up 1-0.
Highton's goal came later in the frame, when Helgans' throw found his head and went over DiSilvestro, putting Darien up 2-0.
Bradley was especially pleased with his defense's ability to match the Mustangs' physicality, especially on the 6-4 Siciliano.
"I thought we stood up physically well today," Bradley said. "I thought we controlled most of the match."
Helgans attested to the physicality of the game. He left midway through the first half due to a nose bleed he sustained when hit in the face.
"They play physical," he said.
Warde had several chances to score in the first 15 minutes in the second, with Siciliano narrowly missing a goal on a header off a corner kick. The Blue Wave countered well, and took a 3-0 advantage when Warde's sophomore defender Michael Foley misplayed a ball in his end.
Branca was the benefactor, stealing the ball and putting it into the empty net behind DiSilvestro.
The Mustangs got on the board when Siciliano's penalty kick was stopped by reserve netminder Aidan Rischmann. Griffin Pugh recovered the ball, crossing it onto the foot of the senior defender, who emphatically blasted the ball into the net, making the game 3-1.