NEW CANAAN, Conn. – New Canaan’s boys soccer team has a history of playing well in the postseason. Monday, the Rams offered a playoff preview by rallying from an early 2-0 deficit to tie Staples, 2-2, in a key game for conference playoff positioning.
The Rams (9-3-3) entered the game in the sixth playoff position, just one point ahead of Staples. Nico Deambrosio and Keith Griffin scored goals for the Rams, who needed momentum after losing three of the last four games. The Rams open the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference playoffs with Friday’s quarterfinals.
“We tend to do well in postseason play,’’ New Canaan coach Victor Sanchez said. “They understand what they need to do, they understand what we’re looking for. When it comes to the playoffs, it’s about that grit, fire and passion. They feel it. They’ve been bringing it for the post few games, so hopefully everything comes together at playoff time.”
The Rams showed resiliency in Monday’s draw. Staples scored two goals in the first 14 minutes. Playing at home in front of a Senior Day audience, the Wreckers were flying.
But New Canaan fought back on Deambrosio’s score in the 22nd minute of the first half. Griffin tied with just more than 16 minutes left in the game with a bullet from the top of the box. Staples had several good scoring opportunities earlier in the second half but couldn’t put one home past goalie Michael Powell.
“I’m happy with the tie,’’ Sanchez said. “I’m happy with how the boys responded after being down 2-0. That first goal was key for us to help us climb out of the hole.”
Sanchez moved defender Robert Valente to the front line after the early deficit, and Valente helped to create Deambrosio’s scoring opportunity. He was pressed into offensive duties partially because his twin brother, Steven, missed another game with an injury. Steve Valente should return for Wednesday’s final regular season game against Norwalk.
“It was important for the seniors to finish off the season the way they want,’’ Sanchez said. “Robert’s such an amazing player, I pushed him up and some of other seniors and put the challenge on them, and they responded.”