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Ludlowe-Warde meeting sublime

Varsity vs Fairfield Ludlowe HS on 10/10/2011 7:00:00 PM
Posted Thursday, October 13, 2011 by William Petroccio


There was nothing remotely similar to a friendly taking place when Fairfield Warde played host to Fairfield Ludlowe in a town and FCIAC boys soccer game at Tetreau-Davis Field on Monday night. Not the 950-plus sometimes raucous and always involved fans, nor the respective coaches, could have asked for more from the combatants on the pitch.

Well, maybe a victorious decision.

For the fourth straight year, the battle for the Swedish Cup, emblematic of program supremacy since 1961 went to — everybody.

Ludlowe (4-4-2) took the lead on Tobias Gimand’s unassisted marker at the 17:40 mark of the first half.

Warde (5-3-2) knotted things at 1, when Brian Luchsinger took a pass from Griffin Pugh, beat a defender, and scored with 2:35 remaining in the first half.

Warde had a chance to win off a restart with nine seconds remaining in the game, but Ludlowe keeper Charlie Kottler went up to snare the direct kick from Kevin Ross.

“This year was quite different,” Warde coach Jason Ottavio said after Ludlowe kept the Cup for the seventh straight season.

“Coming back with the heart, desire and motivation, definitely shows the character of this team. It’s a testament to their resolve and the atmosphere here at Warde.”

Ludlowe coach Kevin O’Hara said: “I’ve been impressed by my boys all year. This is the happiest I’ve been [coaching] in a long time. They are fun to watch.”

In a cleanly played physical game, where ‘play on’ was a constant refrain from the officials, the action was non-stop.

Ludlowe’s top attackers Mahmoud Kafel and Gimand waited for Christian Barrell, Jordan Filipowich, Jason Fromme and Manuel Barral to carve out space and methodically advance them the ball.

For Warde, Luchsinger and Charlie Aragon danced between the midfield stripe and the final 30, looking to strike quickly.

The strategy was reflected in corners, which Ludlowe led 7-0, but Warde defended the set pieces well.

It was primarily Ben Scheller, Ryan Garvey, Stuart Peters and Ross’ job for the Mustangs to disrupt the Falcon offense.

Mark Dubovskiy, Jordan Layne, Mac Kindel and Rob Mitchell played the back four for Ludlowe.

Warde’s Sal Salvatore, Nick Imperioli, Matt Petroccio and Mike Foley played the backline.

Sharing net duties is common-place for Ludlowe, and for this game Ryan Arrigo got the start with Kottler switching in for the second half.

Dave DiSilvestro was in net for Warde.

Gimand’s tally came suddenly, as the junior stepped into a shot from 25 yards out that rocketed past a stunned DiSilvestro.

“We wanted to swing the ball when they had us stopped, and I think Tobias caught them off guard,” O’Hara said. “It’s what we wanted more of.”

Scheller’s fine tackle at midfield started a Warde counter with under 11 minutes remaining in the first half, but Arrigio was spot on to stop Gavey at the near post.

Both coaches subbed liberally, with Warde turning to Alex Landau, Alex Barrato, Pugh, Connor O’Day and Gerald Claudett, while Ludlowe brought in Arda Kocturk and Steven Katz.

Warde struck gold when Pugh came on at midfield and had an immediate impact in the 37th minute of the first half.

It began with a Ludlowe run. Mitchell sent the ball to Gimand, whose head flick found Kafel for a shot that was deflected wide.

Off the resulting corner, Salvatore headed the ball out of the box. Pugh went up the near sideline and placed a perfect pass over Luchsinger’s shoulder.

After avoiding a defender to the left of the penalty box, Luchsinger drew Arrigo out before ripping his game-tying goal into the net.

“Brian took the time, stayed composed, and used placement over power,” Ottavio said of his senior forward.

Ten minutes into the second half, it was Gimand’s defense that kept the game deadlocked.

Warde’s Ross had a strong throw into the box that bounced free. With Arrigio forced off his line, Ross took control and struck a hard shot, but Gimand got back to stop and clear the shot.

“Tobias held the line there with our goalie out,” O’Hara said. “That saved us.

“I think in the last 15 or 20 minutes, Warde took us out of our game. We want to work the ball up and they’re more direct. That’s not our game and they took advantage.”

Ottavio said: “We’re 0-2-5 with Ludlowe since the split [of schools] and [with a nod to the stands] every one of them has produced an atmosphere like this. I couldn’t have asked for more.”

O’Hara said: “I know this is only one game of 16, but this is a fun night that I look forward to each year.

“For 364 days a year I root for Warde to do well. But not in this game. This is where friends versus friends go at it.”

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