Brunswick visited Westminster on Saturday for its final game of the Fall 2023 soccer season and returned home with a 3-1 victory.
Conditions were perfect for soccer — mid 50s and sunny — and a large contingent of family and friends made the journey from Fairfield County to cheer on the team.
The first half was relatively uneventful — with a lot of possession in midfield and few scoring opportunities as the two teams tested each other. Brunswick converted its best chance near the end of the half after senior Ben Matitia created a turnover deep in Westminster territory and fed sophomore Henry Wise near the edge of the box. Wise hit a strong left-footed shot toward goal that found its way into the back of the net — 1-0 ’Wick at the half.
The second half proved to be much more interesting. Westminster began by controlling much more of the ball and creating a number of scoring chances. In the 57th minute, one of the Martlets was pulled down in the box and the resulting penalty kick conversion tied the game at one. It seemed that the game would be highly contested from that point forward.
But one minute later, the game turned completely. Patrick O'Donohue had been fouled numerous times while on the ball and a hard foul by the opponent caused the referee to issue a yellow card for excessive fouling — the player responded poorly to the referee's decision and was issued a red card. For the remainder of the game, Brunswick played a man up (11 vs. 10). These last 30 minutes saw a flurry of activity near the Westminster goal, but despite numerous chances, the score remained tied heading into the last five minutes.
With just four minutes to play, Matitia was involved again — this time drawing a foul from the opponent's goalkeeper. Senior Kieran Raker deposited the penalty kick into the back of the net and Brunswick led 2-1. Raker was awarded another PK one minute later but the Westminster keeper made the save. Finally, with a minute to play, junior Will Higgs played a perfect through ball to Raker, who calmly finished off the chance for a 3-1 lead. The game ended with that scoreline.
It was a solid team effort to produce the victory against a worthy opponent. A special shoutout to the seniors who played in their last game for Brunswick: Rowan Glanville, Luke James, Ben Matitia, Tyler Quake, Kieran Raker, Johnny Saunders, and Phil Stabinsky.
The team finished the season with a record of 9-9-1 — an outstanding outcome given the difficulty of the schedule.