Senior striker Kent Coleman’s goal early in the second half powered the Ridgefield High boys soccer team to a 1-0 win over New Canaan in an FCIAC quarterfinal game last Friday at Tiger Hollow.
The second-seeded Tigers (14-2-1) will now meet third-seed Greenwich in the conference semifinals on Tuesday (Nov. 6) at 5 at Fairfield Ludlowe.
Coleman intercepted a pass on the left side and took a shot that pinged off the right post and bounded into the opposite side of the Greenwich goal.
“He had missed a couple of other good chances,” said Ridgefield head coach Phil Bergen about Coleman, who was stopped on a breakaway and had a shot bounce off the post. “But that is the kind of player he is. It made him more motivated to score.”
Coleman’s goal, which was unassisted, stood up as Ridgefield controlled play and out-shot the Rams, 18-7.
“We worked hard and won most of the 50-50 balls,” said Bergen. “It was a good effort, even though we only scored once.”
The Tigers also played well defensively, despite an early injury to starting left back Ryan Casolo, who broke his tibia in the opening minutes.
“He (Casolo) has given 150 percent this season, so it was a big loss for us,” said Bergen. “But the other players stepped up, and it was probably our best defensive effort of the year.”
Tom Guillaume and Ryan Meegan filled in for Casolo, while center back Patrick Lerchi and right back Travis Leiter also had strong performances.
So, too, did Dan Standish, who switched from center midfield to left midfield to replace the injured Killian Clancy.
“He played extremely well,” said Bergen about Standish. “His choices were good and he adjusted well to a new position.
Another standout for Ridgefield was senior goalie Cal Dearth, who stopped all seven New Canaan shots for the shutout.
“Our keeper was outstanding,” said Bergen. “He played to his strengths.”
The seventh-seeded Rams dropped to 9-5-3 with the loss.
Notes: Joey DeVivo and Coleman each scored two goals in Ridgefield’s 4-1 victory over Fairfield Warde in the regular-season finale last Thursday.
Samuel Isaac, Alex Northcutt and Standish had assists for the Tigers.