It didn’t take a trained eye to notice the differences between the Ridgefield and Trinity Catholic boys soccer teams Tuesday night at Tiger Hollow.
The struggling, overmatched one? That was Trinity. The poised, skillful one? That was Ridgefield.
And then there was perhaps the biggest contrast of all: Trinity Catholic is two years away from being competitive, while Ridgefield, due to a soft end to its schedule, is a week away from facing real competition.
The Tigers ultimately won the lopsided game, 8-0, with five goals in the first half, and three more in the second.
“This is what we expected,” said Ridgefield head coach Phil Bergen, whose team improved its record to 10-2-1. “We mostly used our second team.”
Kent Coleman, who had two goals on the night, scored Ridgefield’s first goal just two minutes into the game on an assist by Adam Findlay. Findlay then scored at the 27:30 mark by heading in a corner kick from Will Bordash.
“For him, today was just about getting back into it again,” said Bergen of Findlay, who is returning from an injury and a recent illness. “We’ll see what happens. I want to play him a little more in the next three games, hoping that he’ll feel comfortable in the playoffs. We really need him to click because he’s a good player.”
Ridgefield’s third goal came from the foot of Samuel Isaac, who showed off his range when he blasted a shot from 35 yards into the net. A minute later, with 15:27 remaining in the half, Joey DeVivo had his first of two goals on the day, and Coleman contributed his second goal with 4:36 on the clock to close the scoring in the first half.
In the second half, DeVivo scored his second goal, with 37:14 left to play. At the 32:22 mark, Kyle Ford was able to control a ball rattling around in the box and put it into the net. Three minutes later, Ridgefield’s Thomas Guillaume scored off a corner kick to finish the scoring.
Ridgefield’s offensive barrage resulted in 31 shots on goal, and Trinity Catholic keeper Tom Gaudioso showed off his reflexes and athleticism by denying 23 of them.
“You can see the physical reactions he has; he has good basic instincts. He’s going to be good,” said Trinity Catholic coach Bob Pepi of Gaudioso. “He’s a junior, and next year he’s going to be a real asset.”
In the end, Trinity Catholic didn’t manage a shot on goal, though that’s not surprising considering their youth. “We’ve got about six freshmen out there, a couple sophomores, and we lost three starters to injury, one concussion, so we’re a little light today,” said Pepi.
Still, the trial by fire will likely pay the Crusaders dividends in the future. As for the Tigers, while they certainly deserved a laugher — five of their previous six games were determined by a single goal — easy games like Tuesday’s don’t exactly prime teams for the playoffs.
“I am a little nervous because we have four easy games consecutively,” said Bergen. “I think we might not be prepared [for the FCIACs], not being challenged for a week or so. We’re going to have to practice hard for a week. Maybe even have practice after Thursday’s game.”