Ridgefield powers past Ludlowe in boys soccer
Updated 9:48 am, Wednesday, September 20, 2017
FAIRFIELD — At halftime, Ludlowe boys’ soccer coach Kevin O’Hara took his team down to the far end of the field, sat them in a circle and proceeded to, in no uncertain terms, chew them out.
Looking to build more momentum coming off a recent win over Greenwich, the Falcons instead took a step back against Ridgefield. Despite having a huge first half advantage with a gusting wind of 15 to 25 miles per hour at their backs, it was the Tigers that benefited from Mother Nature — or Hurricane Jose — by scoring twice against the wind en route to a 3-0 decision at Taft Field.
“We started off a little slow and it took a while to come back but the goals we scored were plays that we’ve worked on over and over before,” Ridgefield coach Phil Bergen said. “It was nice to see it happen but it was one win and we have to keep it going. This game could have gone either way. We know there are still a lot of things we need to work on.”
One thing the Tigers do not need to work on is the chemistry between forwards James Siano and Christian DeVivo. Those two players were involved in all three Ridgefield goals as the Tigers (3-2) won for the third straight time after two losses to open the season.
“We’ve been playing together since eighth grade, we’re best friends, so we have a lot of chemistry together,” said Siano.
It was Siano’s drive down the right side and sharp angled shot into the box that DeVivo slammed past Ludlowe keeper Max Pfleghar at the 28-minute mark, that gave Ridgefield a 1-0 lead. Then, it was Siano that took a cross from Michael Grevers with just 13.1 seconds left before halftime, and blasted it past Pfleghar to make it 2-0.
“They’re incredible,” Bergen said of DeVivo and Siano. “Siano had been hurt. He got hurt two days before our first game. We had built our system around him and then he gets hurt. I hate excuses but I think that’s why we struggled in the first two games. He’s got an incredible knack for the goal, an incredible work ethic. He’s got speed, strength and DeVivo … he’s like a man against boys out there.”
An ankle injury forced Siano to miss Ridgefield’s opening two games against Trumbull and Stamford (both losses) but since his return, the Tigers are undefeated, winning three in a row.
“I couldn’t have done this without the rest of the team,” Siano said. “They played a great game.”
Ludlowe, however, did not. Leaving O’Hara frustrated, to say the least.
“That wasn’t the game we were hoping for,” he said. “We had a very nice game against Greenwich and I thought we were going to rally and build upon it and actually I thought our first 15, 20 minutes was good. I thought we should have scored twice in the first five minutes but we didn’t and you can’t miss opportunities against a team like that. We let them hang around and then James is a phenomenal player and we left him unmarked and he’s going to finish and we’re down 2-0.”
Indeed. A header from Max Goldring and a shot in close from Calum Crawford were smothered by Tigers goalkeeper Ray Dearth, part of a six-save night.
“We had opportunities to jump out on this team,” O’Hara said. “I think they weren’t at their best in the beginning, the wind against them but we didn’t convert.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Ridgefield’s James Siano, the senior scored two goals and added an assist as the Tigers won for the third straight time.
Ludlowe back-up goalkeeper Cameron Pelle. Battling the wind and the attacking Tigers, the junior made six saves and only allowed a point-blank goal in the second half.
“We’re pretty used to it actually, playing in Tiger Hollow, so it was like playing in our own park.” — Ridgefield’s James Siano said about the gusting winds that enveloped Taft Field.
RIDGEFIELD 3, LUDLOWE 0
RIDGEFIELD 2 1 — 3
LUDLOWE 0 0 — 0
Records: Ridgefield (3-2); Ludlowe (2-1-2)
Goals: R — James Siano (2), Christian DeVivo. Assists: R — Michael Grevers, Siano. Shots: R — 11; L — 8. Saves: R — Ray Dearth (6 saves); L — Max Pfleghar (1), Cameron Pelle (6)