New Canaan boys soccer opens season with shutout win at Fairfield Ludlowe
The New Canaan boys soccer team kicked off the season in style by taking to the road for a 2-0 shutout victory of Fairfield Ludlowe Tuesday night.
By their own admission, the Rams were hardly perfect, but they did more than enough to come away with the win. On multiple occasions, New Canaan kept the ball in Ludlowe territory for lengthy periods of time, while permitting almost no scoring opportunities for the Falcons.
"I'm pleased with how they played. Overall, they played very well and stuck to our system. Obviously, still a lot of work to do, but I was very pleased with the first game," New Canaan coach Victor Sanchez said. "I was pleased with how aggressive they were with their pressure."
According to captain Justin Pertierra, who scored the first of New Canaan's two goals, the Rams' ability to consistently win 50/50 balls and keep the action on Ludlowe's side of the field in the game's early moments set the tone for the entire night.
"I think it's great that we were really aggressive right off the bat. We stuck to our gameplan and possessed the ball a lot which really helped our combination plays into the last third," Pertierra said. "We got a little tired in the second half towards the end, but overall I thought everyone played really hard."
New Canaan dominated early, but it wasn't until 17:23 remained in the first half that the Rams had anything to show for it. Pertierra gained possession and dribbled in for a better angle before burying his close-range shot for the 1-0 advantage.
"We were building up from the back into the midfield. (Niko Deambrosio) had a great layoff to me," Pertierra said. "I went down the sideline looking for someone. No one was there so I took a touch in and shot it in with my right foot."
New Canaan played exceptionally well on defense, conceding only three Ludlowe shots, two of which were corralled by New Canaan goalie Michael Powell, who earned the shutout in net.
The Falcons finally began to sustain possession on the Rams' side of the field. Even when they did, however, scoring chances were few and far between.
"We came out a little bit hesitant in the first half. We really weren't playing the way I'd like us to play," Ludlowe coach Kevin O'Hara said. "I thought in the second half we played much better and started bringing it to them a little bit. We're disappointed with the first half but happy with the second half and the things we can build on. It's a long season and we'll get it together."
Any hopes of a Ludlowe comeback were severely dashed when D'Ambrosio doubled New Canaan's lead after taking in a pass from Steven Valente and lofting his shot over Ludlowe goalie Ryan Arrigio. Arrigio came up with six saves for the Falcons.
"Steven layed it off. I kind of passed it to him and got it back on a boucny ball, so I put it up," Deambrosio said. "I saw it float and it looked like it sunk a bit so I turned around and started celebrating before it went in. I think we were pretty confident out there tonight."
Though he was encouraged by his team's season-opening shutout, Sanchez would like to see his team finish a bit stronger.
"I thought our play was a little sloppier in the second half, partly due to (Ludlowe) playing a little more up tempo," Sanchez said. "Kudos to them, but we still need to be composed under pressure and understand that the second half is always going to be different from the first."
New Canaan 2, Ludlowe 0
NEW CANAAN 1 1 --2
FAIRFIELD LUDLOWE 0 0 --00
Records: New Canaan 1-0; Fairfield Ludlowe 0-1.
Goals: NC -- Justin Pertierra, Niko D'Ambrosio. Assists: NC -- Steven Valente. Goalies: NC -- Michael Powell (2 saves). FL -- Ryan Arrigio (6 saves).