Boys soccer can't rally late, falls at Greenwich
GREENWICH --Marino Patrk's first goal of the season couldn't have come at a better time for the Greenwich High School boys soccer team. Darien, of course, wishes it came on a later date.
With the important FCIAC match all tied up and the tension growing, the junior midfielder tallied off a free kick 9:11 into the second half, propelling the Cardinals to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the visiting Blue Wave.
"It was my first goal of the season, so it was nice to break the ice," Patrk said. "I haven't gotten a goal this season, and being an attacking player, it was sort of frustrating."
The league triumph raised the soaring Cardinals' record to 5-1-1 and extended their winning streak to four games.
"We are in real good shape right now," said Greenwich sophomore Frankie Agrest, who scored the game's first goal. "Hopefully, we can keep it going until the end of the season."
Patrk made sure the Cards cashed in on their set piece chance, perfectly placing his free kick from the right wing past Darien senior goalie Graham Hotchkiss, who dove to his right in an attempt to stop the ball.
"The key for us is we didn't give up another goal after we took the lead," Patrk said. "We didn't let them through our defense and that builds confidence."
Greenwich coach Kurt Putnam has seen his squad flourish during the second half of games for most of the season, and the Cardinals continued that trend Wednesday.
"The second half was a good performance by our team," said Putnam, whose Cardinals advanced to the FCIAC semifinals a year ago. "Our guys played to our strengths in the second half, which are getting the ball on the ground, passing and moving the ball around and trying to get guys around the back."
By playing to feet more during the second half, the Cards generated several corner kicks and numerous shots on goal. Once GHS claimed a 2-1 advantage it kept four defenders back, making it more difficult for the Blue Wave to generate scoring opportunities.
"Greenwich stayed strong defensively," said Darien coach Nicolae Piperea, who used to coach the Cardinals' girls varsity soccer team. "I think we played a strong game against one of the best FCIAC teams. In the five years that I have been with Darien, this was the closest game between us and Greenwich."
Darien knotted the score at 1-1 with 2:08 remaining in the opening half. Junior Ben Hall's 30-yard free kick from the sideline found the foot of a cutting Geoffrey Hubbard, who made a good first touch toward the goal. The junior forward then knocked a short shot by Cardinals senior goalie Mike DeGiorgio, making it a 1-1 game.