Fall sports

Greenwich boys soccer team determined to contend for FCIAC, state titles

Photo by David Fierro: From left to right, Nick Carvalho, Jamie Smith, Lucas Luzuriaga and Gordy Cartwright are senior captains of the Greenwich High School boys soccer team.

The FCIAC and CIAC Class LL boys soccer tournaments have seen Greenwich in the running for both championships in recent seasons and with a roster with depth and skill at each position, the Cardinals’ 2022 team is aiming to once again, make their presence felt during the postseason.

“We always set the goal to get to a state tournament, which coming out of FCIACs is never easy,” said Greenwich coach Kurt Putnam, who has been at the helm since the 2001 season. “Making another FCIAC Tournament and seeing where it goes, that’s another goal. We are young, that’s for sure. We had 23 seniors last year, this year, we have 11.”

The Cardinals opened their 2022 campaign Thursday with a 4-2 road win against Norwalk in an FCIAC matchup, the first of what they hope are many victories this fall.

“We lost some players from last year, but the juniors that came back and the players we brought up from JV and other programs are really good,” Greenwich senior forward/captain Lucas Luzuriaga said. “I think we’re looking really strong. I have high expectations for the whole team in the conference and state tournaments.”

Lucas Luzuriaga, who plays on the wing, is one of the Greenwich boys soccer team’s main scoring threats.

A season ago, Greenwich registered an impressive record of 13-3-3, advanced to the championship game of the FCIAC Tournament and to the second round of the CIAC Class LL Tournament. In the 2021 FCIAC final, the Cards were edged by Norwalk, 1-0. Following a first-round bye in the Class LL tourney, Greenwich was defeated by eventual state finalist Cheshire, 2-1, in the second round.

Greenwich captured the FCIAC Tournament championship in 2017, shared the championship with Trumbull in 2016 and won the title in 2013, 2007 and 2005 under Putnam’s leadership. They’re hoping to be one of the top teams in the conference again this fall.

“I think we’re going to do good this FCIAC season and hopefully, we’re going to go far in the tournament,” said GHS senior center back Nick Carvalho, also one of the Cards’ captains. “We just have to communicate and trust each other.”

Photo by David Fierro: Nick Carvalho is one of Greenwich’s most experienced defenders and is a team captain.

Jamie Smith and Gordy Cartwright are among Greenwich’s experienced players. The duo are also serving as senior captains.

Smith will see action as both a midfielder and defender.

“My responsibilities have been between the defense and the midfield,” Smith said. “We are still experimenting with different formations to see where everyone can fit in best and what can get us wins in the high school season.”

The Cardinals are in action today against visiting FCIAC foe Fairfield Ludlowe, then will host longtime rival Staples on Monday, then visit Norwalk on Friday in a rematch of the 2021 FCIAC Tournament final.

“The potential of the team here is always great,” Smith said. “The biggest job of us captains is to get the juniors and team overall to bye into what Kurt has to say and just to get the team under one common goal.”

Jamie Smith is a senior captain of the Greenwich boys soccer team.

A midfielder, Cartwright will look to once again, spark the Cardinals offensively.

“The team is looking really solid,” Cartwright said. “We have strong wings and we just started figuring out the middle. “Our defense is really strong we have a solid backline that we can trust. We have a lot of young kids on the team and they’re all great and keep us going. We talked about discipline at the start of the year, so every practice we are working on it.”

Senior Nico Figueroa returns as an experienced goalie for Greenwich. Jorge Cerna, also a senior is also back in goal. Brothers Nick and Pietro Carvalho, a sophomore, and Tomas Biagini lead the backline.

“My brother plays on the right side and Tomas along with Nico the goalie,” Nick Carvalho said. “We do a lot of talking in the back. We look over the field and talk to everyone and make sure they are where they are supposed to be and make sure the tempo is right.”

Greenwich’s boys soccer team has a big week upcoming with matchups against Staples and Norwalk.

Indeed, the Cardinals are intent on setting the tempo each game.

“We want to play a high tempo, press, type of game where we move the ball quickly,” said Putnam, who varsity coaching staff includes Ray Marschall.

Senior midfielder Jack Kelley is among some of the returning players, along with senior striker Jacob Galvez, junior midfielder/forward Maximo Ferrario, junior forward Charlie Fiore, sophomore Nick Hvatum and junior center midfielder Jose Ramirez.

Among some of the 23 graduates from last season’s successful squad were Jake Hugh-Jones, an All-FCIAC First Team selection last year, Andrew Lowitt (All-FCIAC West selection in 2021), Santiago Borrego (All-FCIAC First Team honors), Julian Colin, Alejandro Rodriguez and Isaac Dumeny (All-FCIAC First Team accolades).

Photo by David Fierro: Kurt Putnam instructs the Greenwich boys soccer team during a recent practice.

“Me and Max playing on the wing is going to bring a lot of potential for crosses and opportunities for goals,” Luzuriaga said. “And I think Jacob will be there to finish up, so I’m expecting a lot of goals this season. I feel like this team has a great mentality. Everybody is willing to leave everything on the field.”

“We’re looking for a chip this year, so we’re excited,” Cartwright said.

Greenwich is seeking to make a run for the FCIAC and state titles.

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