Boys soccer: Ridgefield boys edge St. Joseph

The fact that the one-win St. Joseph High boys soccer team hung with four-win Ridgefield High throughout Thursday afternoon’s contest in Trumbull was of no consolation to Cadet head coach Steve Waizenegger. After all, a win’s a win and a loss is a loss, and his team came up a goal short, falling 1-0.

St. Joseph is 1-7-2 and Ridgefield improved to 5-3-2 in an FCIAC battle that came down to the Cadets’ Achilles heel throughout the campaign thus far: mistakes.

The Cadets were caught out of position when the Tigers moved the ball deep into their half of the field and pressured the goal area.

Goalkeeper Joseph Lucy made a nifty save, but the Tigers’ Cal Meachem pounced on the rebound and cashed in for the lone goal with 24:30 remaining in the second half. Waizenegger was disappointed that the ball wasn’t cleared away after Lucy made a diving stop on the initial shot.

The struggles this year have been a product of the Cadets making mistakes throughout the first month, according to Waizenegger.

“We just haven’t executed. We’ve hurt ourselves more than we’ve been beaten by the opposition,” Waizenegger said. “We’ve got to be better. We’ve been preaching that, but it comes down to execution. We paid for the mistake we made.”

St. Joe’s defenders John-Paul Feliciano and Anthony Leonardi made several plays to break up crosses, and Brendan Derleth and Edmund Rioux also made some strong plays to deny the Tigers. Lucy had a highlight-reel diving save when he went airborne to his right to stop a shot set up off a free kick in the second half.

The Cadets generated several scoring chances throughout the game, but Ridgefield managed to keep possession deep in the attacking end of the field in the final minute and a half.

St. Joe’s nearly executed some scoring chances throughout, but nearly is the operative word. Late in regulation, Joey Martino sent a ball into the left corner, where Christian Barroso used his heel to blindly, and cleverly, kick the ball off a defender’s shin and out of bounds for a corner kick – one of three second-half corners the Cadets produced. But the locals didn’t manage a shot at the goal off this chance.

Earlier in the second half, shortly after the Tigers took the lead, Matthew Reis got behind the defense and crossed to Barroso, who headed the ball wide. Later off a corner kick, Dante Alberti left-footed a bouncer after the ball made its way through a maze of players, but Ridgefield keeper John Buczek was there for the save.

Buczek also made a leaping denial of a chance off the foot of Brandon Rua late in the opening half.

“We had some quality chances,” Reis said. “We don’t execute our chances; we can’t win like that.”

“We had opportunities to score and we didn’t score,” Waizenegger noted. “We hoped to get something out of this game but we didn’t, so you look to the next game.”Reis believes some of the team’s troubles can be chalked up to bad luck. “It’s frustrating,” said the team captain, adding that the team has been putting in a lot of effort. “We’ve got to keep it up. We’ve got to keep working hard.”

St. Joseph will visit Darien High on Monday at 4:30 p.m.