Ridgefield keeps rolling with wins over Darien, Wilton
Getting goals from JT Siano and Sam Atterbury, the Ridgefield High boys soccer team pushed its winning streak to eight games with a 2-1 triumph over host Wilton on Thursday.
The victory was the second in three days for the Tigers, who were coming off a 4-0 win over Darien on Tuesday night at home.
Now 8-2-0 overall, Ridgefield is first in the FCIAC East Division with 24 points, six more than second-place Fairfield Ludlowe. The Tigers are also tops in the conference overall standings, three points clear of Greenwich and Stamford, which each have 21 points.
In Thursday's game at Wilton, Ridgefield jumped out to an early lead on a goal by Siano in the third minute. Siano found himself one-on-one with a Wilton defender and was able to put on a move to get free before pounding a shot into the goal.
Ridgefield had a chance to up its lead in the 16th minute, but Alex Lust’s left-footed shot hit the elbow of the post and crossbar and bounced out.
The Tigers padded their advantage with 7:39 left in the first half when Sam Atterbury headed home Drew Conte's corner kick.
Wilton got a goal from Chase Connolly with 6:11 to play in the second half to pull within 2-1. But the Warriors were unable to add the equalizer before time expired.
Tuesday's game with Darien was a battle between the haves and the have-nots. While Ridgefield entered with six straight victories, the Blue Wave came into the contest still looking for their first win.
On Breast Cancer Awareness night, those trends continued, as Ridgefield put on a clinic and blanked Darien, 4-0.
Although Ridgefield controlled the pace throughout entire game, its opening goal didn't come until midway through the first half. Lust sent a wide pass to Siano on the left side of the box, and Siano tactfully beat a defender and fired a shot that ricocheted off the right post to an unmarked Jack Liguori, who deftly deposited a shot into the Darien net.
"I just got lucky and had an opportunity that I had to take in order to get our team going," said Liguori.
Ahead 1-0, the Tigers played with more precision in the second half. Just 90 seconds after the restart, the Tigers doubled their lead on the first of Siano's three straight goals. Pressured by two Darien defenders right outside the box, Liguori executed a beautiful back-heel pass that found Siano, who slammed a shot into the left corner of the net.
“JT [Siano] and I have really good chemistry because we’ve played for years together," said Liguori. "I saw his run behind me and knew with his ability as a forward that he'd get there and finish.”
Siano then added his second goal of the day. Charlie Poremba took a corner kick from the right side and effectively placed it into the box. From there, the ball deflected off a Darien defender and fell at the feet of Siano, who fired home from the top of the box.
Siano wasn’t done. With under 15 minutes left, Alex Glass launched a counterattack and went on a lengthy dribbling run before dumping the ball off to Siano inside the penalty area. Siano converted the feed to finish off both his hat trick and the Blue Wave.
While Siano and the attack snagged the headlines, Ridgefield's defense and midfield units both turned in dominating efforts. The shutout was the sixth this season for the Tigers, who have allowed just two goals in their last eight games.
"We are starting to get our rhythm down," said senior defender Shane Bowler, a mainstay on the backline along with classmates Ben Sasse, Nick David and Michael Grevers. "The midfield really came alive this game. We are working hard at practice and giving it everything during our games, and our record is starting to show it.”
The midfield was pivotal to the Tigers' success, as Darien was befuddled by the swift passing of Lust, Will Coffin and Niels Van Beek. They effectively retained possession and kept most of the game on the Darien half of the field.
Siano, who registered his second three-goal game this season, was appreciative of the support.
“I really couldn’t have done it without the team," he said. "The midfield played really well."